Why Betsy DeVos Should Learn To Appreciate The Public School System
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Politics and Activism

Why Betsy DeVos Should Learn To Appreciate The Public School System

The value and reality of our public education system.

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Why Betsy DeVos Should Learn To Appreciate The Public School System
NBC News

Today, someone on the quad took the time to interview me about my opinion on our current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. My immediate response to his first question “are you a fan?” was no. When asked why, I said because she is under qualified as she's never held a position in education or had any form of experience with financial aid, and she is unfamiliar with the laws regarding the public school system. He then went on to ask if I would like her if she had a voucher program, which was a trap because I know she has a voucher program. The program, as he explained, allows kids from underprivileged public schools to attend a better school in another district. What he didn't mention is that it only transfers these students to private schools, and doesn't actually fix anything for the public institution.

I think it’s important to take a second to recognize why this boy and his questions really made me mad and should make you mad. About 90% of students in preK-12 grade attend public school in this country; including myself. In 2015, about two-thirds of the country used financial aid or grants to attend universities country wide. So, if you begin to think, “Well I’m not on a scholarship or financial aid, this doesn't make a difference for me” think again. If you ever attended public school, have a sibling/cousin/neighbor/friend/human other than yourself that attends a public institution, Betsy’s employment makes a difference in your life.

Betsy DeVos believes in private education and charter schools only, and her voucher programs support only private institutions.

She doesn't believe she can commit to continuing sexual harassment education in public institutions.

She doesn't think she can commit to continuing to fund public institutions in general.

She doesn't know the laws currently in place for protecting disabled students across our country.

She cant commit to the idea that guns shouldn't be allowed in schools.

She supports accountability in schools, but cannot agree to hold them to an educational standard.

The only time Betsy DeVos agreed to funding the arts in schools was when she cited a culinary department in a Grand Rapids Community College because she used to ‘employ a private chef’ who graduated from there.

If 90% of our next generations of students in this country attend public institutions, and Betsy defunds them, where will they go? If two-thirds of our country uses financial aid, and Betsy defunds them, what will happen to them?

As a student currently at a public institution heading toward a career in medicine, another billion years of school, I can say that the financial aid system is not necessarily working for me. In 2015, 68% of students who graduated from a public institution had student loan debt. In 2016, the average amount of student loan debt was near $40,000 per student. Just take a second and think about how much that really is. So, no, it might not directly affect you, but 7/10 of your friends at your public school will graduate with more debt than they can handle. This system isn't working.

DeVos’s voucher programs were put in place to allow students in public districts to leave their district and attend a private, charter school on a voucher. Theoretically, yes, this is a great option. However, what happens to the public schools? Do all the kids there that don't qualify for the voucher program get left in a defunded, ignored public school system? Voucher programs may help a few, but not all. In fact, only 3% of students in the states that her voucher program is set up in are really benefitted by them. What about everyone else struggling with public arts programs that aren't funded, public schools that need new books or teachers or need a higher level of attention so they wont allow their students to fall behind?

Education is undervalued in this country. We live in one of the most incredible places on the planet, we have freedoms so many other countries are not as lucky to have and yet we cannot support our students. We encourage kids to be teachers, and don't pay them enough to sustain themselves or their loans after they graduate. We encourage kids to be doctors, and don't tell them we will leave them with millions in student loan debt until years after entering a career. We encourage kids to make art and give it to the world, but don't fund our public arts programs enough to give them proper education. We tell kids to be whatever they want, but do we really mean it? With education value so low, how can we expect kids to believe us when we tell them they can be anything they want? More importantly, with questions like these, how can we allow someone so incredibly out of touch with 90% of our young students to hold their futures in her hands?

It’s important to be educated on education. It’s important to recognize where you came from, appreciate it, and have support for where you are going. Many children in this country feel like they cannot pursue their dreams because they cannot afford it, and that is not something we should be okay with. Betsy DeVos has no concept of our public education system, she has no familiarity with financial aid programs, she has no opinion on the rights of our disabled children and she doesn't have a plan. She needs to be held accountable.

If you are a student and haven't looked at our nations education policy, I highly suggest you do because odds are you will change your mind on whether or not it affects/matters to you. If you haven't been paying attention to Betsy DeVos, start paying attention, because as a student in this country she will directly affect your life, and you deserve to have all the information you can. As a person who lives in a nation so so great, you deserve to have someone in charge of your education who is as confident and supportive of you as you are of yourself.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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