American education has deep problems. Funding for the public school system is patchy and inconsistent, relying on local property taxes which leads to gross inequities; higher education has suffered from declining support for decades. And now Donald Trump has appointed Betsy DeVos to be his secretary of education.
The sole reason is that DeVos is a corrupt billionaire, just like him; she made her money off of the Amway empire, which is a repellent, criminal pyramid scheme, a colossal con that has escaped most of the weight of legal retribution by being filthy rich and cozying up to the right wing.
In 1980, the DeVos family contributed heavily to the election of Ronald Reagan, and DeVos, Sr., was named the finance chair of the Republican National Committee. Two years later, he was removed, after calling the brutal 1982 recession a “cleansing process,” and insisting that anyone who was unemployed simply didn’t want to work. That same year, DeVos and his Amway co-founder, Jay Van Andel, were charged with criminal tax fraud in Canada. Eventually, Amway pleaded guilty and paid fines of twenty-five million dollars, and the criminal charges against DeVos and his partner were dropped. Despite these incidents, the DeVos clan remained a major political force. “There’s not a Republican president or presidential candidate in the last fifty years who hasn’t known the DeVoses,” Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, told Mother Jones, in 2014.
The marriage of Dick DeVos to Betsy Prince only increased the family’s wealth and power. Her father, Edgar Prince, had made a fortune in auto-parts manufacturing, selling his company for $1.35 billion in cash, in 1996. Her brother Erik founded Blackwater, the private military company that the government infamously contracted to work in Afghanistan and Iraq, where its mercenaries killed more than a dozen civilians in 2007.
The whole damn family ought to be in prison, but instead, they’ve been embraced by the Trump regime.
But wait, that says nothing about her ability to run the US educational system. What are her education qualifications?
She doesn’t have any. She’s had no training in education, she did not attend public school, her kids didn’t attend public schools, she’s been a crusader for vouchers. Vouchers don’t work!
The longest running voucher program in the country is the 20-year-old Milwaukee School Choice Program. Standardized testing shows that the voucher students in private schools perform below the level of Milwaukee’s public school students, and even when socioeconomic status is factored in, the voucher students still score at or below the level of the students who remain in Milwaukee’s public schools. Cleveland’s voucher program has produced similar results. Private schools in the voucher program range from excellent to very poor. In some, less than 20 percent of students reach basic proficiency levels in math and reading.
Vouchers are simply a means to an end: the demolition of the public school system. The DeVoses can afford the best private schools, and if you can’t, you deserve to be uneducated.
We thought Trump would be bad. We had no idea how awful electing an incompetent sould be, because it’s clear that the first thing he’s doing is appointing more incompetents solely on the basis of ideological fanaticism.