This letter concerns the president’s nomination of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education. DeVos is dangerously unqualified for a position that has broad influence on our K-12 schools and postsecondary education.
She has never worked in a public school system in any capacity. Neither she nor her children have ever attended a public school. Her involvement in education is solely as a lobbyist for charter schools and other school privatization schemes. In part because her lobbying of the Michigan legislature, the charter school boom in that state has almost no oversight. She is disinterested in regulating for-profit universities that have forced many students into debt and have had dubious educational outcomes.
In her Senate hearing, she showed embarrassing ignorance of the department that she has been tapped to run. She made a cringe-worthy comment about guns being necessary to fight off grizzly bears. She did not seem to be aware of a broad four-decade-old federal statute that governs special education nor did she seem to know the difference between growth — the measure of a student’s progress — and proficiency — the measure of a student reaching a targeted score. Her answers on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act seem similarly ignorant. Sen. Bob Casey has already said he will vote against her. We need to encourage Sen. Pat Toomey to do the same.
Jesse L. Barlow, State College
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The writer is a State College borough councilman.