Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Betsy DeVos

In the interest of trying to remain as objective on this subject I did some research. I have worked as a recruiter in the past, there are several aspects to recruitment and job descriptions, the one aspect I wanted to research was "Qualifications" or "Requirements. What exactly determines someone is qualified for a position? What separates them from other candidates? What are the minimum requirements for a job? All I could find for the Secretary of Education was a broad description of duties, no minimum job requirements. Interesting. I will admit in the interest of time, I have gotten the majority of my background information from Wikipedia, if you feel that I need to dig deeper, please advise, he is the link listing prior secretaries leading to their various backgrounds.


I asked myself, what would I do if I was asked to recruit for a position, how would I define minimum requirements for the job if there was no previous documentation? My answer is to look at the past individuals that have held the position and draw my information from there. There were some similarities which I could I would put as minimum requirements, some would or should be preferred. One is that everyone had a Bachelors degree, however only two had Master's degrees as well as two held Doctorate degrees as well, and the acting Secretary prior to inauguration day had a Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree, and a Juris Doctorate. All the prior Secretaries held degrees in one or more of the following subjects: Political Science, Government, and Sociology from well known universities. Betsy DeVoss holds a Bachelor's degree in  Business Administration and Political science from Calvin College, I have never heard of it, I am not sure what their academic standings are in relation to the degrees that some of her predecessors held from Harvard, Yale, University of Houston, and University of Indiana Bloomington.

What also struck me is that all prior secretaries held positions working with education in the public sector, as well as having either founded publically funded charter schools or having worked as their administrators. Betsy DeVos has not, she has been involved in political action groups and foundations in the education sector, but it appears she has not been directly involved in the administration of a school either pubic or charter, and has never worked in a position at any level involved in government or education other than working with private foundations and political action committees, in fact I could not find information that looks like she has served in the public sector at all, which in looking at past Secretaries, should appear to be a job requirement. That in and of itself should disqualify her.

Ok, that's my impartial view, on to my more opinionated one. She wants to open up public education to privatization, looking back historically, really, how often does that work well? Does she have a model or any objective information on how that would be beneficial? Not that I have seen. Let's face it, I highly doubt there are going to be a lot of private schools opening up in lower income neighborhoods to benefit those children. What makes her think a private school would do a better job  with public funds? If you funded a public school with the amount of dollars that private schools get per student, I'm sure that school would also improve too.

I can't really argue against choice of schools, for us it has been a life saver to be able to send my son out of district to another public school. If we had been able to have my son's needs met we would have stayed, what I had found shocking was their lack of accountability in the district, and I would have to ask myself how much worse will it be for parents like us if she is appointed?

We did look at private schools, a couple had a focus on kids with disabilities, one of the biggest deterrents for me in going that route was that we were advised  my son's IEP would be invalid, private schools are not held to the same standards for disabled students that public schools are. They are under no legal obligation to accommodate or compensate for his needs at all. Not to say they won't but they are under no legal obligation to do so, and there is little to no recourse if they do not. Privatization would definitely not serve well for children with challenges, and isn't the Department of Education required to serve everyone? I was also unsettled by her repeatedly answering that she would let "the States" make decisions on a variety of topics, which is really not what she would be appointed to do, her position would supposedly require certain decisions be made, not let the states do it for her.

Let's also mention the fact that some of the largest teacher's unions and organizations oppose her quite strongly, these are organizations she is supposed to ultimately work with, and they have in the past have successfully pressured Secretaries to resign.

That's it for now, however you feel on this topic, that is my opinion, info on how to call your elected officials to express your opinion are in a link provided in the prior post.

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