I've seen a lot of tweets and Facebook posts today saying that the left is opposed to DeVos because of her position on school choice, and that those fighting her are really fighting the rights for families who want choice. I've seen anti-teacher union posts that accuse the teachers unions of creating this controversy to make it harder for the school choice movement.
This is not the case. This is not why educators are out protesting her.
If DeVos was a knowledgeable, experienced educator who understood the delicate ins and outs of the education system but was a strong supporter of school choice things would be different. The teachers unions may still oppose her, the left may still oppose her, but there would not be such a strong outcry from your average teachers.
When she was first announced as the president's pick, many of us were weary about her politics, but we weren't protesting. If she had come to her hearing with strong arguments with why school choice and states rights were important, then we would be having a different conversation right now.
She didn't. Instead, she showed a complete lack of understanding of public schools and IDEA. Her attempt at saying that allowing guns on campus should be decided by the states was laughable. Really, really laughable. (If you are pro-states rights then at least be prepared to defend it before your hearing so you aren't saying crazy things about grizzlies and guns. Have better examples.)
We are not protesting her politics, we are protesting her qualification for the job. She is not an educator, not has she shown any attempt at trying to understand the system. She hasn't made any case for how she can make our system stronger, choice or not.
She could have shown up and made a strong case over why school choice would be better for IDEA. I've heard that argument. She could have talked about how charter schools show a stronger understanding of growth vs proficiency. I've heard that argument. I might not agree, but I would respect that argument.
DeVos didn't make those arguments. She didn't fight for school choice. She didn't prove her extensive knowledge of the education system and how she could take the current system and change it for the better under school choice.
She barely showed up. I've read that's because she's too nice, or because she's from the midwest.
I'm a nice person, I have trouble speaking in public. Confirmation hearings would be most worst nightmare. But I'd prepare. I'd get people to teach me what I needed to know. I'd know my arguments. I would practice in front of a mirror. It's not about being nice. It's about being qualified and prepared.
This opposition is not over school choice. It's over having a credible leader. It's over respecting the education of the children in this country and investing in our future. It's acknowledging how important education is to our country.
Her confirmation hearing should have been an embarrassment to the school choice movement. Don't those of you who support school choice want someone who understands schools?