There’s a reason that living under the Trump Administration is so exhausting; citizens don’t know where to look first. We wake every morning with the same question: which of Trump’s incompetent/corrupt Cabinet members is doing the most damage today?
The EPA is headed by a former coal lobbyist who is busy eviscerating environmental protections. The Secretary of the Treasury is refusing to honor a request for Trump’s taxes, despite a statute that specifically requires him to do so. At Commerce, Wilbur Ross was (fortunately) too incompetent to follow the rules for adding questions to the Census. Mike Pompeo is using the State Department to further fundamentalist Christian interests. Alex Acosta has joined the exodus of Trump Administration officials ousted for improper/corrupt behaviors….
And speaking of corrupt, don’t get me started about William Barr.
However, we can’t allow these scandals to obscure Betsy DeVos and her continuing effort to cripple the Department of Education and sabotage public education.
Recently, DeVos installed Diane Jones, a veteran of “for-profit organizations that operate low-quality education programs,” as chief architect of her education policy.
“President Trump’s Department of Education is stacked with former for-profit executives whose companies got rich by ripping students off,” said Charisma L. Troiano, the press secretary for Democracy Forward, a government watchdog organization that has accused Ms. Jones of several conflicts of interest. “For decades, Diane Auer Jones has advocated for this predatory industry.” (Link unavailable)
DeVos is the first Secretary of Education to come to that post having zero experience with public schools. She has never worked in a public school, has never been a teacher, a school administrator, nor a member of a public board of education. Not only that, she didn’t attend public schools herself, and she didn’t send her children to public schools. In Michigan, she’d been an implacable foe of public education and a generous funder of vouchers and for-profit charters.
When she was nominated for the position, the Washington Post ran an article titled “A sobering look at what Betsy DeVos did to education in Michigan.” It documented the troubling decline in student achievement in the private and religious schools she supported.
Her confirmation hearings were a disaster, revealing her monumental ignorance of DOE’s mission and legal responsibilities, and lack of familiarity with important education policies. It took Mike Pence’s vote to confirm her–the first time in history a Vice-President had to cast a deciding vote for a cabinet nominee.
And what has she done since she was (barely) confirmed?
- rolled back protections for transgendered students.
- proposed a nine billion dollar cut in education funding
- repealed federal protections against predatory for-profit colleges
- rescinded college-level sexual assault guidelines
- stripped DOE employees of collective bargaining rights
- endorsed a plan to place guns in schools, and to purchase them with federal grant money intended for academics and student enrichment
- eviscerated the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which allows public workers to apply for forgiveness of their student loans after 10 years of service and on-time loan payments.
- pushed to expand federal vouchers by $50 billion dollars over ten years
- refused–and continues to refuse–to enforce laws requiring that federally funded services be provided only by public employees or by contractors independent of private schools and religious organizations. (It is unprecedented for a federal agency to announce it won’t enforce the law as written.)
There’s more at the link.
Even if Democrats sweep this abysmal crew out in the 2020 elections, it will take decades to repair the damage.
It turns out that handing the government over to people who know absolutely nothing–either about government in general or the work they are being asked to do in particular–is a really bad idea.