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Campus concerned over DeVos

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Campus concerned over DeVos

Adria Watson, awatson@lmcexperience.com

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Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education by the senate Tuesday, Feb. 7 after a historic tie-breaking vote — 51 to 50 — made by Vice President Mike Pence.

After some responses she made to questions posed to her at the secretary of education confirmation hearing Jan. 17 — declining to directly answer whether or not guns should be allowed in schools, but instead used a Wyoming school to explain that they may need guns there to protect them “from potential grizzlies” — more concerns were raised regarding whether or not DeVos was prepared, or even qualified, to hold the position.

Additionally, DeVos being known as an advocate for charter schools, private/religious schools and vouchers — taxpayer money used to help pay a child’s tuition at a private school — has been a big part as to why she’s gained criticism since the announcement of her nomination, but it is her lack of experience with public education that some Los Medanos students and faculty members are concerned about.

LMC President Bob Kratochvil said he is “hopeful that Secretary DeVos will recognize the important mission of community colleges and be a strong advocate for our students,” but others around campus see that as unlikely.

English instructor Alex Sterling said the secretary of education is supposed to oversee public education and that involves helping disadvantaged students and he doesn’t believe that DeVos has that experience.

“She is a rich person and she sees things through the eyes of a rich person,” said Sterling adding, “she has shown no qualities that would prove she’d do a good job.”

Student Dale Satre echoed similar sentiments explaining that he’s worked in government bureaucracy before and said that mixing business with bureaucracy could have dangerous implication for the public school system — along with her lack of experience when it comes to public education.

Although he believes DeVos being the Secretary of Education could have a negative impact, Satre also explained he does not see there being a drastic change to the department of education as long as the local school districts make decisions that are best for the students.

“I don’t think the department of education will, in four years, radically change public education as long as there are still local districts that will do their best to operate without being influenced by [the department of education],” said Satre. “They can’t really do much as long as there are still local education districts that will do their own part.”

Student Jennifer Holderman expressed her disappointment in the fact that “someone that has almost no knowledge of what a ‘normal’ citizen has to go through got placed in such an impactful position.”

Additionally, Holderman said she believes DeVos impact will be “fairly negative” but would affect K-12 students more than college students.

“I think it’s going to hit more of the grade school and high school kids because she’s going to be pushing her own agendas in there. She’s all for private schools and a lot of people get their education from public school because they can’t afford to send their kid to some private school,” said Holderman. “I hope she’s not in the position long.”

 

-Kimberly Stelly contributed to this report

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Campus concerned over DeVos