Last week, Betsy DeVos began her work as the newly appointed Secretary of Education. Many American citizens fought hard to keep her out of this position. They called, emailed, and wrote their Senators in hopes of convincing them to vote “No” on Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
Why were people so against her being chosen for this position? First, DeVos has never gone to an American public school. Other argued that this fact would have no impact on her success as the Secretary of Education because she was educated, just not a product of the American public school system. I agreed. I have gone to Catholic schools for grade school, high school, and now college. As a current substitute teacher, Education major, and future teacher, though, I have my own concerns. On February 8, 2017, DeVos tweeted:
“Day 1 on the job is done, but we’re only getting started. Now where do I find the pencils? :)”
DeVos received immense amounts of backlash for this tweet because pencils in the American public school system are not something to joke about. Something as simple as pencils are a luxury to students throughout the country. Teachers purchase school supplies out of their own pockets throughout the school year, and while schools often promise to reimburse them, teachers do not hold their breath. Schools that are fortunate enough to be able to provide supplies, or even expect families to purchase their own supplies, are few and far between.
In a Q&A session on DeVos’ website, she stated, “Above all, I believe every child, no matter their zip code or their parents’ jobs, deserves access to a quality education.” If this is truly DeVos’ goal, then I wish her complete success. There is nothing I want more for my future students than for them to be able to receive the quality education they deserve. But if Betsy DeVos wants my full support, and the complete support of other citizens, students, teachers, and parents, then she needs to put her words into action. Instead of joking about where to find pencils, DeVos should be making it a priority to make sure that schools have adequate supplies.
Betsy DeVos, I wish you the best of luck in your new job. Please prove me, along with my fellow teachers, students, and parents, wrong. Prove to us that you plan to make changes in the best interest of the students, and not in the best interest of your wallet. Prove to us that you were the best choice to be a voice for those without one.
Go find those pencils.