By Thomas Drover ’17
Betsy DeVos has been chosen to hold the cabinet position of Secretary of Education – and many would argue that this is a poor choice. Recently, DeVos holds an infamous rep from a Twitter controversy that contained a spelling error. Many wanted to use it as proof that DeVos is incapable of doing the job appropriately, as her follow-up tweet contained a second error. We now know that it was not actually her that made these spelling mistakes on Twitter, however there are plenty of other sources that would still suggest she might not be the best for the job.
The most prominent of these is perhaps her recent confirmation hearing. It shocked many how severely she seemed to lack the knowledge necessary to do the job sufficiently. When asked a question about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), she did not seem to know much about it at all. Considering it is a federal act, one would assume she would be well versed in it.
When Senator Maggie Hassan D-NH asked, “So were you unaware what I just asked you about the IDEA, that it was a federal law?” “I may have confused it,” DeVos replied. To me, that does not seem like she is too well equipped.
If this was the only concerning thing to come out of the hearing, then maybe most could look past it, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. A big concern for college students like myself is student loans. They are going to be a burden for me for many years to come so it only makes sense that I would like to hear what she has to say about higher education and its affordability in the U.S.
Senator Al Franken MN-D asked her about how she had previously said that student loan debt has increased by 1000% in the last eight years. She agreed by saying it had grown around 980% since 2008. Franken put her in her place by simply stating that that was just not true. It has grown around 118% from 2008-2016. Now, I could forgive her for being a bit off of the mark on this one, but not by over 800%. She seems to be horribly misinformed.
Many parts of the hearing left me very uneasy and concerned for the future of our education system. I’m not the only one with concerns about her abilities to do the job either. The Senate, for the first time, voted 50-50, leaving the final vote up to Vice President Mike Pence.
According to USNews.com, Lisette Partelow and Meg Benner wrote, “It appears that DeVos either doesn’t understand the role of the department or plans to neglect her responsibilities as its leader.”
I could not agree more with this statement. I have never considered myself to be a particularly political person, but I just do not see how Betsy DeVos could be appointed to head our country’s education department. I hope for everyone’s sake that she proves me wrong.