As a former educator who remains obsessed with educational policy, who watched the entire DeVos hearings, it was clear to me that she had been coached to smile and give a big nonverbal “fuck you” to the politicians. Those would be the same politicians who have managed to take US education from bad to worse over the last few decades.
Personally, I enjoyed watching the “fuck you”. The politicians earned it.
And, you’re right. All of a sudden, there was huge opposition to DeVos all over the place — from people who knew precisely *nothing* about educational theory, pedagogy, and the controversies about NCLB and Common Core, and WHY they are controversies.
In a word, the DeVos opposition was all about Trump. Anyone who had seriously researched the condition of education in the US since Why Johnny Can’t Read or A Nation at Risk was much more circumspect about DeVos. She is woefully unqualified, if the standard of qualification is what the NEA says it should be. But at this point, should the NEA be the standard of qualification? Or is that doubling down on failure?
Allow me to make an analogy which is a bit chilling.
If you supported the creation of the ACA, you likely could quote statistics which said this “We spend (a) twice as much money as other nations on health care, and (b) we get worse outcomes. So, © this must change.”
Well, when it comes to education, we spend (a) twice as much money as other nations, and (b) we get worse outcomes. Plus, our dropout rate is twice as high. But, in this case, we think that © no change is needed? Please.
DeVos is there to be a change agent. I doubt she’ll be able to change anything substantially; I would have much preferred one of the CEOs of one of the successful charter school companies who have succeeded so well with at-risk students. But I’d rather have a change agent at Education than another pre-programmed NEA robot. And so would you, America.