I’ve been seeing a number of thoughtful, well-intentioned posts lately from very intelligent friends, wondering how and why Betsy DeVos could be so uninformed about schools and education, and whether she could be convinced to move in better directions by talking with and listening to experienced teachers and ed policy experts.
The answer is “no,” and here’s why…
I understand why it may appear that Sec. DeVos is simply uninformed, and therefore perhaps open to persuasion, but understand this: She is not unsure as to her goals. Her beliefs are fueled by her Dominionist faith–she hates public institutions of any kind, like schools, and believes that God gave mankind responsibility over the Earth, and all of its creatures. Dominionists believe this gives them a mandate for Christian stewardship in civil affairs, not just in matters of faith.
Betsy couldn’t care less about schools of any kind–in her ideal vision of the world, every family would be members of the Christian Reformed Church, and homeschool their kids or send them to fundamentalist Christian schools. Charter schools are just an uncomfortable pit stop toward this eventual destination, and a way to get the rest of us to pay for her choice.
Thinking that Betsy DeVos can be led in one direction or the other is a dangerous way to think about her–she may not be very smart, or very experienced, or informed…but she absolutely knows what she believes, and will not be convinced otherwise.
Not by other opinions, or facts, or evidence.
She’s a true believer, and does not believe in public education, equity, inclusion, diversity, or any kind of tolerance for “others.”
And thinking otherwise is not only wrong, it’s dangerous.
[Betsy DeVos caricature by Donkey Hotey | Flickr]