Betsy DeVos is Donald Trump's nominee for the Secretary of Education. She has been undergoing testimony by the Senate.
Asked bluntly by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington whether she would commit to keeping funding for public schools intact, DeVos dodged the question.
Under questioning by Al Franken she seemed confused and not knowledgeable about the fundamental debate in public education about how student progress should be measured.
When Sen. Chris Murphy asked her whether she would agree that guns don’t belong in schools, she said: “I will refer back to Sen. [Mike] Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.”
Under questioning, Ms DeVos showed no understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA, which requires public schools to provide free and appropriate education to all students with disabilities. When Sen. Maggie Hassan educated her on the law, her reply was, “I may have confused it.”
Overall most news outlets called her testimony poor, but if you relied on Breitbart News for your information, you would never know that she botched her testimony.
The DeVos family is also staunchly anti-LGBT. Since 1998, the DeVos family has given more than $6.7 million to Focus on the Family, a group that supports “conversion therapy”—a debunked theory that purports to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian individuals that is strongly opposed by the American Psychiatric Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and scores of other medical and civil rights organizations.
Betsy DeVos's family is very, very wealthy. DeVos was born Elisabeth Prince, the daughter of Elsa (Zwiep) Prince (later, Broekhuizen) and Edgar Prince, a billionaire industrialist. She married into an equally wealthy family. Her husband, Richard Marvin "Dick" DeVos Jr., is a multi-billionaire heir to the Amway direct sales fortune.
Betsy DeVos is a product of private schools. Neither she nor her children have ever attended or worked in a public school. She is a strong advocate for private school choice voucher programs. She and her family have donated some $200 million to Republican candidates and causes that support her political and education beliefs.
To better understand Betsy DeVos one would have to study her life of privilege. The Jacobin Magazine covers that in an article, Betsy DeVos’s Golden Age. I won't summarize, but will provide one extract:
"Betsy DeVos is arguably the single most prolific campaigner for charter schools and school privatization, pouring her enormous wealth into a vast network of organizations — PACs, think tanks, pressure groups — that seek to separate government from education.
"If she is confirmed as education secretary, for the first time, she can do it for free."
So we have a billionaire President Elect and a billionaire Secretary of Education (if approved) opposed to public education. What direction will public education take under their watch?