On Monday a majority of Republican senators voted in favor of confirming Betsy DeVos to the post of Secretary of Education.
Ms. DeVos has never attended public schools. Her children did not attend public schools. Yet she’s landed a position that will impact public school teachers and students in this nation for decades to come.
In the hearings leading up to her confirmation Ms. DeVos was unable to answer simple questions that every teacher in the country can respond to in a heartbeat. So what makes her qualified to lead the department of education? Silly me! It’s money!
If she were a friend to public schools, perhaps the outrage I feel would be out of place, but DeVos is a proponent of charter schools and vouchers. What are vouchers in this context?
School vouchers, also referred to as opportunity scholarships, are state-funded scholarships that pay for students to attend private school rather than public school. Private schools must meet minimum standards established by legislatures in order to accept voucher recipients.–National Council of State Legislatures
So my tax dollars are going to pay for students to attend private and/or charter schools, also known as “for profit” schools. Wealthy parents who have heretofore paid the cost for pricey private education can now count on me to help subsidize their children’s schooling.
Middle class parents fearing a pending drain on public schools may be inclined to pull their students from public schools and enroll them in charter or private schools taking money away from an already beleaguered system.
Every public school depends on tax dollars. Those tax dollars are allocated on a per student basis. In some states the funding is decent, while in others it is deplorable.
Regardless, our tax dollars are now going to fund private education, and those kids at the bottom rung of society will be the ones who most feel the loss.
Throughout the history of this nation public schools have been the great equalizer. Are our schools perfect? Not by a long shot. Inner city schools struggle with issues we can’t even imagine, but without public school funding, they are set further adrift, while questionable charter schools receive my tax dollars.
So maybe I’ll get on board with this whole money making scheme. I’ll charter a school and call it The School of Deep Thinking. My students and I will convene at the pool on sunny days and contemplate our toenails at the 10′ marker.
I might even teach a math lesson or two. Students can estimate how long they’ll hold their breath under water. They’ll learn how to convert meters to feet and back again. And we’ll read whatever novels catch our interest while reclining on beach chairs in the Florida sun. Screw higher order thinking. Send me the vouchers.