Bucks Students Defy DeVos

Taylor Sole

Public school students, including some who attend Bucks, are exceptionally worried as Michigan Republican Party’s Betsy DeVos takes office as Secretary of Education under President Trump.
DeVos’ controversial opinions regarding the place of public schooling have gained attention from public school students who typically oppose her plans to reunite the church with the state in public schools across America.
DeVos, notorious for her opposition to federal public school funding and clear favor towards Christian private schools, is an ideologue for replacing our democratically controlled public school system with vouchers that will prioritize private, preferably Christian schools over public. With over 90 percent of America’s schools being public, the nation, and especially students attending public colleges, seem extremely opposed to DeVos and her goals as secretary of education.
DeVos was a controversial candidate, winning only 50-51 as voted on by the Senate, for Secretary of Education based on her lack of experience in public schools. Frankly, she has no experience with the public school system, (she did not attend a public school, neither did her children) yet wants to “drain the public system of the dollars it desperately needs,” as quoted by Randi Weingarten, president at the American Federation of Teachers. DeVos has zero teaching experience, let alone an education degree, and has a strong preference towards for-profit/charter schools.
Kayley Nagle, freshman at Bucks is particularly distraught about DeVos’ lack of experience, and finds herself doubting America’s entire public school system. She particularly questions what will happen to schools like Bucks that are public colleges, saying, “I am a product of twelve years of public school, it has gotten me to where I am today and I want someone in office that will move us forward, not push us back. I worry on Bucks’ behalf, because I worry that it will not get the funds or attention that it deserves.” Public schools are already very underfunded with less than 10 percent of funding for kindergarten through twelfth grade schools controlled by the government, and it’s quite possible that DeVos’ vouchers have the potential to completely defund public schooling altogether. Although this is a stretch, and it is very clear that America’s federal role in educational funding is fairly limited, DeVos takes controversial stands on issues that will surely impact students particularly in public colleges.
DeVos claims that it would be “premature” to stand by Title IX, an educational amendment that protects against discrimination of students based on sex under educational programs or federal loans. This is unsettling to female college students in particular, who are a part of the 69 percent of all college students that receive federal loans to pay for tuition every year. Even more unsettling is that DeVos has claimed to never have taken out any kind of student loan for herself or for her children, let alone even attended a public school.
DeVos is particularly despised by the LGBT community and supporters due to her parents and husband’s parent’s donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-gay corporations that support conversion therapy, calling homosexuality “preventable and treatable.” She claims to be separated from her parents’ views, claiming to have no part of her parents’ foundation, the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, which has donated large sums of funds to anti-LGBT groups in previous years. Yet, she is listed on tax forms for the foundation, and just recently filed paperwork for her name to be removed from the forms after this speculation. With this, LGBT students worry about their safety in public schools under Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.
Bucks isn’t the only public school that has students that expressively oppose Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Just this past week, students at Jefferson Middle School Academy in southwest Washington prevented DeVos from entering their public school, holding a protest against her place in America’s educational system. The protesters greeted her at the entrance to their school yelling “Go back! Shame, shame!” until DeVos eventually left the premises. Acts of student defiance such as this protest have been seen nation-wide since DeVos was elected last week.
College students are typically using the word “terrified” when explaining their outlook on what Betsy DeVos could potentially do to public schooling, and it’s no doubt that DeVos is under qualified to be making judgements on the functionality of public schooling and what it has to offer for 90% of students in our nation.