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DeVos’ “Message from the Secretary” Link Features… Arne Duncan.

July 23, 2017

The US Department of Education website needs updating– comically so.

If one clicks on the link, “An Overview of the US Department of Education,” and follows the link, “What is the US Department of Education?,” one finds a page that has not been updated since September 2010– and which cites student enrollment from 2007-08.

The page entitled, “The Federal Role in Education,” (located under “Mission,”) does include a link to Trump’s FY2018 budget requests for education. And also under the heading of “Mission,” the site also notes the supposed role of the US Secretary of Education:

 …The Secretary and the Department play a leadership role in the ongoing national dialogue over how to improve the results of our education system for all students. This involves such activities as raising national and community awareness of the education challenges confronting the Nation, disseminating the latest discoveries on what works in teaching and learning, and helping communities work out solutions to difficult educational issues.

As recently noted in July 2017 in Vanity Fair, the current US ed sec, Betsy DeVos, prefers not to engage in dialogues about education as her Department refuses requests from journalists, often simply ignoring such requests, and she refuses to do interviews with the press and declines to speak at organizations where one might well expect the press to be represented, such as the Education Writers Association. Moreover, her times to make herself available to the press tend to be brief, unannounced ahead of time, and in obscure locations.

Instead, DeVos prefers to speak via formal speech, and in her formal speeches, she is forever campaigning for school choice, particularly in the form of vouchers, tax credits, and education savings accounts.

DeVos does not “disseminate what works in teaching and learning.” She campaigns for school choice, and in her campaigning, she makes it clear that she does not support a “system” of public schools.

She twists the words of those who support a system of public schools for all students into a lack of caring for *individual* students even as she criticizes American public education as “a system created in the 1800s.”

If longevity is obscene to DeVos, she had best ditch the Constitution itself because it predates the 1800s.

Even so, she declares that certain longevity is okay since it is tied to her– and leads to her ever-present campaign platform of school choice, which she frames as “state-based advocacy” in her July 20, 2017, speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

I’m no stranger to state-based advocacy; it was a primary focus of mine for 30 years before I entered public service.

But that brings us to an interesting (and should be, an embarrassing) point for DeVos, whose certainly-ironic “public service” as US ed sec began on February 07, 2017, with a VP tie-breaking vote in the predominately-Republican Senate:

According to her own USDOE website– which has been hers for almost six months as of this writing– the US Secretary of Education is still ARNE DUNCAN.

arne duncan  Arne Duncan

Yep. The USDOE “Overview” link entitled, “A Message from the Secretary,” was last modified on October 09, 2015, and is still Arne Duncan’s greeting:

USED Duncan greeting

((Awkward silence.))

It’s not like DeVos hasn’t done anything to the USDOE website. But like her support for the traditional public school, DeVos’ website revamps to date have been superficial at best.

For example, one can find a new home page that has DeVos as US ed secretary.

Moreover, one can even find a resurfaced Individuals with Disabilities Acts (IDEA) link– which still connects to the old IDEA link– which now has a message at the top telling a person to just return to the information-bereft link he/she just left.

DeVos’ revamped IDEA website is cosmetic. It is not the place to go for detailed information on IDEA, just as she is not the person to go to for an understanding of IDEA (see here and here).

But back to that DeVos-revised, USDOE home page:

If one clicks on the “about us” link at the top of the new home page, one arrives here, where one can click on the “Overview” link and then read Arne Duncan’s letter, “A Message from the Secretary.”


betsy devos 3  Betsy DeVos



Want to read 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 two other books: 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.

  1. Jill Reifschneider permalink

    Oh my.

  2. Cathy in Denver permalink


  3. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Yes. I found a lot of dated material as well. The aim is to hollow out this and other offices of the government by not hiring anyone, or giving mega-responsibilities to incompetents and people who are hostile to the functions of the office–DeVos is a perfect example.

    • Jill Reifschneider permalink

      I agree. The point is to close the Dept of Ed and the EPA among other responsibilities of the Federal Government.

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