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What Betsy DeVos Says of Detractors Depends on the Day

February 20, 2017

Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos received an unprecedented amount of public resistance to her confirmation as US secretary of education.

Her take on public resistance to her utter disregard, painfully obvious ignorance, and established disdain for American public education changes with each situation– which she has already demonstrated in three US Department of Education press releases within a single week.

Consider an excerpt from her press release regarding the protesters who attempted to block her entrance into Jefferson Middle School in DC on February 10, 2017:

I respect peaceful protest, and I will not be deterred in executing the vital mission of the Department of Education. No school door in America will be blocked from those seeking to help our nation’s school children.

Sounds good. It is, after all, politically correct to “respect peaceful protest.” However, DeVos’ neutral tone changed on February 15, 2017, in a speech to the Magnet Schools of America:

Last Friday, a handful of protestors tried to block my entrance into Jefferson Middle School Academy here in D.C. While I eventually made it in, and had very constructive conversations with Chancellor Wilson, many DC administrative leaders, some terrific teachers and Principal Dohmann, the protestors’ behavior is a reflection of the way some seek to treat our education system – by keeping kids in and new thinking out.

Friday’s incident demonstrates just how hostile some people are to change and to new ideas. Without realizing it, we, too, can fall victim to this trap of seeing our work in education as an “us vs. them” approach.

Thus, five days later, DeVos’ “respect” for protest morphed into the judgment that such individuals are “hostile to change and to new ideas.” DeVos champions public money for private schools in the form of school vouchers. This is not new. However, the overriding “new” is for a a Congressional majority to put a billionaire whose political/spending history is undeniably hostile to public education in charge of overseeing a federal office that wields fiscal influence over public education across America.

Yet to DeVos, it is the “handful of protestors” who must be hostile because she views herself as above any reproach– an easy position to assume when one considers “I am right” to be a given.

But that was February 15, 2017.

By February 16, 2017, DeVos has bizarrely brushed aside her “hostile” comment as though it did not happen just 24 hour prior.

Consider this excerpt from her remarks to the Community College Legislative Summit on February 16, 2017:

My passion and actions have been to help improve educational opportunities for students and parents. And while some have characterized the flurry of attention around my confirmation in negative terms, I viewed it as expressions of passion… passionate parents and advocates who care deeply about their kids and about education.

I applaud it, and I know this same passion drives all of you.

Let’s just bring home DeVos’ dissonant opinions of those who reject her in one bizarre, contradiction distillation:

Betsy DeVos respects peaceful protest, and even though it comes from a handful of people who are just hostile to change and to new ideas, she actually applauds the flurry of negative attention because it shows passion that drives all involved– both protesters and protested.

Got that, America?

betsy-devos-17  Betsy DeVos 

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Want to read more about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of both A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

From → Betsy Devos

3 Comments
  1. In other words, depending on to whom she is speaking, her story changes. Isn’t that special?

  2. Reblogged this on David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Education and commented:
    She is a “how the wind is blowing” speaker.

    Depends on which way the wind is blowing to determine her message of the day/moment.

    • Zorba permalink

      Sounds a bit like Trump, who finally (finally!) came out condemning and in opposition to the anti-Semitism and the anti-Semitic acts that have been going on.
      After ignoring the Jews who died in the Holocaust during Holocaust Remembrance Day, and whose only answer when asked previously about the anti-Semitism going on was that he was not an anti-Semite, and, oh, by the way, my son-in-law is Jewish.

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