Betsy DeVos v. Dwayne Wade

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which shut down in the immediate aftermath of last month’s mass shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead, recently reopened. And, today, there was news that the students had received two distinguished guests, one of whom talked with them at length about their experiences, and the other, who, refusing to speak with then, just appeared to be there for the promise of positive press. One was Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. The other was Trump Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Can you guess which of the two refused to engage with the students? Here, from Twitter, are a number of not so subtle clues.

As for what motivated Wade to visit the school, one assumes it has to do with the Joaquin Oliver. Oliver, one of the Stoneman Douglas High School students who was murdered last month, was a fan of Wade’s. And, when Wade heard that Oliver had been buried in his Miami Heat jersey, he not only reached out to the family to offer his condolences, but he dedicated the rest of his season to Oliver, writing his name on his shoes, etc. “Life is bigger than basketball,” Wade said at the time, throwing his support behind the Stoneman Douglas High School students who, since the shooting, have been fighting tirelessly for gun reform. And, to his credit, Wade has stuck with it, even though there’s been blowback from the far right and conservative basketball fans. Saying, “This is definitely bigger than the game,” Wade promised that he would not “just shut up and dribble,” referencing a nasty, hateful comment that Laura Ingraham had directed at LeBron James a few days prior. And, today, in Parkland, Wade demonstrated that he really meant what he said, showing up for the students and encouraging them to keep going.

As for why DeVos went to the High School, she told members of the press that she wanted “to be there” for the students. In spite of this, however, it doesn’t sound as though she so much as spoke with a single student during her visit, although she did give the press that impression, saying that she had “toured the school with student journalists.” In fact, according to those student journalists, they were just allowed to follow the Secretary of Education at a distance, taking photos of her as she made her way through the school. Here, with more, is an excerpt from the New York Daily News.

…Members of the media received similar treatment from DeVos during a press conference later in the morning that lasted only 10 minutes or so. When pressed by reporters on the issue of arming school staff, with questions surrounding training standards and student opposition, DeVos suddenly walked away from her podium.

Taking only a handful of questions before she abruptly ended the brief press conference, DeVos did not discuss the specifics of her conversations with students nor the policies she believes need to be implemented to keep schools safe.

“I told the newspaper reporters that I would love to come back in an appropriate amount of time and just sit down and talk with them,” she said amid the brief presser, adding that she toured the school with student journalists.

But Carly Novell, an editor for the student newspaper, “The Eagle Eye,” said DeVos “refused to meet/speak with students”…

It’s also worth noting that, shortly after walking through the school, DeVos was defending the President’s ridiculous, dangerous and irresponsible plan to arm teachers rather than just outlaw assault weapons like every other developed nation in the world.

Speaking of the worst Secretary of Education our country has ever known, I’d encourage you to read the report just issued by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Katherine Clark about DeVos’s disastrous first year in office. The entire 17-page report, titled “DeVos Watch,” can be found online, but here’s a taste.

…This report summarizes Secretary DeVos’s major actions during her first year in charge of the U.S. Department of Education (“the Department”), concluding that she has failed as Education Secretary. It reveals that her tenure—marked by damaging conflicts of interest—has been a boon for for-profit colleges, student loan companies, and advocates of school privatization. And her actions have harmed public education and students of all ages. Detailed findings of this review include:
Questionable Ethics and Conflicts of Interest. Secretary DeVos has taken actions that harm students and student loan borrowers while benefitting bad actors in the for-profit higher education and student loan sectors. These actions appear tainted by her own conflicts of interest (many of which likely remain undisclosed) and those of key personnel that she has hired–including her Senior Counselor and a former Special Assistant, who have personal ties to the main beneficiaries of her decisions.
Favoring For-Profit Colleges over Students. During her nomination hearing, Secretary DeVos repeatedly emphasized the importance of “accountability.” Since her confirmation, however, she has taken numerous steps to limit, delay, and revoke regulations aimed at holding colleges accountable when they fail to keep their promises and protecting defrauded student loan borrowers. She has rolled back relief for students who were ripped off by shady for-profit colleges; she has exposed struggling loan borrowers to high collection fees; she has delayed rules ensuring that colleges that take federal student loan dollars are held accountable for student outcomes; and she has weakened oversight of predatory for-profit colleges while allowing bad actors to continue receiving federal student aid dollars.
Weakening Public Education. The U.S. Secretary of Education should be a reliable champion of public schools. But fears of her lack of experience and disinterest in–or disdain for–public education have come to fruition. She has undermined key protections for public school students contained in the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act; she has proposed budgets that contain massive cuts for public education (and huge giveaways to private and religious schools); and she has spent her time in office meeting with school choice and privatization advocates, while largely ignoring the needs of public school students and teachers.
Turning Back the Clock on Civil Rights Protections. A critical part of the Department’s mission is to provide equitable educational opportunities for all students. But Secretary DeVos has done the opposite. She has curtailed protections for victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence; eliminated protections for transgender students; weakened protections for students of color; and weakened enforcement of civil rights protections by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights…

This kind of behavior, of course, is rampant in the Trump cabinet. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, by way of example, it was reported today, is changing the mission statement of his agency so that promises of “inclusive” and “discrimination-free” communities is removed. With this said, though, I would still argue that no one is worse that Betsy DeVos, who fought for the job, and bribed her way into it, with one objective in mind… to destroy American publican education in order to advance god’s kingdom on earth. She is the worst of the lot… a self-professed “Christian” who is willing to look the other way as Trump fucks porn stars and makes fun of the disabled, convinced that the ends justify the means, and that he can give her what she wants. She, simply put, is a monster.

Oh, and she’s a horrible liar too… Just watch her tell the press that she talked with the students of Stoneman Douglas.

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  1. Sad
    Posted March 8, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Nice piece of writing. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Amway.

  3. Lisa Dengiz
    Posted March 8, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant, but terrifying piece. Thank you , Mark! Lisa Dengiz

  4. Scott Dworkin by proxy
    Posted March 8, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I think Betsy DeVos should be implicated in Mueller’s probe. Her foundation gave $2,686,500 to Russian orgs, her company has offices in Russia, one of their Russian offices was raided by Russian police for tax fraud in summer of 2016 & Erik Prince is her brother. #FireDeVos

  5. J.G.
    Posted March 8, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Not that we need convincing, but this may be the most damning column yet concerning DeVos as Secretary of Education. Certainly it points out the most viscerally disgusting aspects.

  6. Erin O'Leary
    Posted March 8, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to read the write-up in the student newspaper about her visit.

  7. teacherpatti
    Posted March 8, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Every now and again I think, “She cannot possibly do anything more ridiculous” and yet she continues to impress me with her ignorance. I wish she’d come visit my class. Oh God that’d be awesome. What a memorable day for us all!

  8. Anon
    Posted March 9, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    She probably wants to keep her distance because that way, it’s easier to maintain indifference.

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  1. By Prince of Darkness on March 7, 2018 at 10:16 pm

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