The Trump regime's pick for
Minister of School Privitization Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is a trainwreck of a choice whose only seeming qualification is that she donated millions to Republicans on the Senate committee overseeing her confirmation process. Her hearing Tuesday was a disaster all around as she gave risible answers to questions from Democrats.
On Tuesday, Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s Education Secretary nominee, answered a question about the presence of guns in schools during her confirmation hearing by saying students need protection from grizzly bears.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy (D) asked DeVos, “Do you think guns have any place in or around schools?”
DeVos said that is decision “best left to locales and states to decide.”
When Murphy asked her again, DeVos said, “I will refer back to Senator Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming … I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.”
When Murphy was a member of the House of Representatives, he represented the district including Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 elementary school students and six school employees were gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Murphy invited DeVos to come to Connecticut and “talk about the rule of guns in schools.”
When asked whether DeVos would support the president-elect’s plan to ban gun free zones, she said, “I will support with the president-elect does. If the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence.”
Bears. We have to have guns in schools because of bears. Oh, but DeVos is far worse than just on guns in the classroom.
Since her nomination, DeVos hasn't said much publicly about her views on education—or whether she plans to defend the separation of church and state in public schools. (DeVos declined Mother Jones' request for an interview, but a Trump transition team spokeswoman replied in an email, "Mrs. DeVos believes in the legal doctrine of the separation of church and state.") However, in a 2001 interview for "The Gathering," a group focused on advancing Christian faith through philanthropy, she and her husband offered a rare public glimpse of their views. Asked whether Christian schools should continue to rely on philanthropic dollars—rather than pushing for taxpayer money through vouchers—Betsy DeVos replied, "There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education…[versus] what is currently being spent every year on education in this country…Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God's Kingdom."
Said Dick DeVos: "As we look at many communities in our country, the church has been displaced by the public school as the center for activity…[I]t is certainly our hope that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education."
Although the DeVoses have rarely commented on how their religious views affect their philanthropy and political activism, their spending speaks volumes. Mother Jones has analyzed the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation's tax filings from 2000 to 2014, as well as the 2001 to 2014 filings from her parents' charitable organization, the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation. (Betsy DeVos was vice president of the Prince Foundation during those years.) During that period, the DeVoses spent nearly $100 million in philanthropic giving, and the Princes spent $70 million. While Dick and Betsy DeVos have donated large amounts to hospitals, health research, and arts organizations, these records show an overwhelming emphasis on funding Christian schools and evangelical missions and conservative, free-market think tanks, like the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center, that want to shrink the public sector in every sphere, including education.
This woman will be our next Education Secretary with a lifelong mission to completely dismantle public schools and replace them with private education and religious education.
I actually miss Arne Duncan. And I hate Arne Duncan.