Betsy DeVos will be the new Secretary of Education, pending senate confirmation. She is married to an heir of the Amway Corp., and is a former chairwoman of the Republican party in Michigan. She used to be on the board of the Kennedy Center and donated $25 million for the establishment of an arts management program there. She is also a huge believer in school choice/vouchers.
This got me thinking: our school system is obviously broken and has been for a long time. I have often said that I believe the Republican party has consciously tried to dumb down the populace, as it is much easier to control in that way. In recent years they have led an all-out assault on teachers. In Wisconsin they doomed the tenure system. Now, they are trying to create a registry of professors who teach pro-liberal/progressive ideals/anti-conservative propaganda.
The solution is not school choice. That is a bandaid, which gives parents the feeling that they are in control of their children's education. What needs to be fixed is the fact that parents feel like they have to make that choice in the first place. No school should be that bad that parents want to remove their children from it. Every school should be excellent. And it should be the government's responsibility to provide that.
Over time, we need to raise the standards of our curriculum. We need to raise our expectations of our children. We need to invest in the arts - every study shows how beneficial they are. We need to teach a fact-based curriculum, in line with modern trends of thinking and with the civilized world. Yes, we need to attempt to return to be a member of the civilized world.
We need to roll back our investment in sports, other than general physical education. Sports in this country has gotten completely out of hand and it is just another thing (including crappy TV) to distract us from what is going on. This is at all levels, including college.
Finally, we have to, as a society, get to a point where we once again respect education and being educated. We must want our leaders to be the smartest, most intelligent, most experienced people possible for the job. Isn't that why so many of us have this worship of our "Founding Fathers"? Weren't they sooo smart that everything they penned should be held true nearly 250 years later? I believe that we should hold our current leaders to that same standard.
So, while I am impressed with some of DeVos' experiences, especially in the arts and in clean energy, I do not believe that she has the experience or education to fill the position of Secretary of Education. When it comes to education, she is an ideologue and has no clue as to what the real problems we face in returning our country to first world status.