No Experience Required!

Betsy Devos was narrowly confirmed as Secretary of Education and required a historic tie breaking vote by VP Mike Pence. All of the Democratic senators and two Republicans voted against Devos but in the end, she managed to get the job. Let’s briefly review her qualifications to lead an agency that is responsible for the administration of public education.

Experience in Public Education – ZERO!
Devos did not send her children to public schools nor has she worked in public schools. She has, however, spent millions to successfully expand voucher programs so that children could attend private schools instead. So…let me get this straight –someone without any experience in public education and who has spent a fortune diverting money from public education is not overseeing it?  Based on her responses to questions during her confirmation hearings and her background, she is clearly for “school choice”, but what is her plan to improve public education. It is clear that she things that taxpayers should pay private companies and organizations to educate our kids, but what about using public funds for public services?

Ironically, Devos has no experience working or serving in public education but yet most Republicans believe she is the best person to head the Department of Education because she will bring “fresh eyes”.  Wow! This has inspired me to apply for the CEO position at Apple whenever it opens up! I have absolutely no experience in designing, managing, or producing smart technology but I use it everyday. My lack of knowledge and experience qualifies me to be a leader of an industry that I know nothing about.  OHHHH and I have spent tons of money to support efforts against the industry. Do you think the board will vote “yes” for me?

The Future of the Public School System
Those who supported Trump because he is a “good businessman” should be ecstatic that the public sector is being dismantled and taxes will be used to bring profits to private companies and organizations. After all, that is business! Expect more public schools to close in places like rural areas and inner cities, but alas, there will be vouchers to PARTIALLY pay for private schools in an area code far away. But what about school choice? Everyone loves school choice! Where here is your choice…poorly funded public schools or private school. Ironically, as more funds are diverted from public schools to the pockets of CEOs and Executive Directors, the quality of public education will continue to decline.

Those who believe that the government should be run like a business may not realize that the public and private sector have very different goals.  The goal of the public sector is to provide free access to services such as a quality K thru 12 education because it is viewed as a “right”.  The primary goal of businesses is to maximize profit and minimize costs (emphasis on profit) and access to quality education is viewed as a “choice”.  In an effort to maximize profit, it is incorrectly assumed that businesses operate more efficiently; however, this is most often not true and one of the most important determinants of success in business is taking calculated risks.

The choice between public and private education has always been a choice that Americans enjoyed, but that should not eliminate the choice to have high quality free public education. A greater demand should be placed on the government to use taxes to improve the services it provides rather than shift the responsibility to businesses who are only concerned about their self-interest and not the public interest. However, that is to be expected if our government is going to operate like a business.

Thanks for “listening” to me whine. Hopefully my whining has made you think. If so, tell your friends/family/colleagues that you heard it through the Political Great Whine!

 

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