Betsy DeVos is an idiot. She is an ignoramus. But most importantly, she’s a danger to children. Since she has become the education secretary under Donald Trump, she has done what most conservative billionaires do: She’s asked for budget cuts to education while trying to syphon money off and into charter schools and other private-education operations. Unlike many previous conservative education secretaries, DeVos is a dumb billionaire with only the faintest grasp of reality and possibly only an eighth-grade reading comprehension level. DeVos has asked for budget cuts that would reduce federal investment in education by 10 percent—an enormous amount of money not going toward educating our children. One of the bananas highlights of DeVos’ 12-page defense to Congress of the budget cuts.
There is no evidence that the Federal taxpayer investments in existing professional development programs or class-size reduction have meaningfully improved student outcomes. In fact, students may be better served by being in larger classes, if by hiring fewer teachers, a district or state can better compensate those who have demonstrated high ability and outstanding results
[Bold is me throwing my computer across the room.]
Googling the terms “reduced class size education” or even “class size education” brings up all kinds of evidence that reduced class sizes are beneficial for students’ education. The pathetic rhetorical trick here is putting the “no evidence” claim next to the phrase “Federal taxpayer investments in existing professional development programs,” which probably means her department hasn’t actually studied it. If you don’t know, no one can say you lied, I guess?
This section made Democratic Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard wonder out loud what the hell Betsy DeVos was talking about. You can watch that exchange here. Pay attention to Anthony Cody from the Network for Public Education (NPE) in the background.
DeVos is actually arguing for more income inequality. Create fewer positions and strata and just pay a select few more money. But most importantly, don’t touch any of our billionaire money—let us trickle down a few schillings when we feel benevolent. It’s the fundamental problem with this kind of anti-intellectual Ayn Rand-driven thinking. The belief is that there are a few people who are exceptional, but most people are just numbers to be used for industry, and then there are those they hope disappear by dying.
The entire budget piece reads like a seventh-grade report where the assignment was to cut things out to reduce your bottom-line number, and you just had to make shit up to fulfill that requirement. In the end, everything being cut is then magically going to be handled by “local, State, and private resources.”
Third, the Budget does not include funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, saving $1.2 billion compared to the fiscal year 2019 appropriation. Although before- and after-school programs can improve student outcomes, 21st Century Community Learning Center programs do not generate consistent student attendance or yield consistently improved academic outcomes.
These things have indeed been proven, but in this case, we want to cut it because we haven’t figured out a one-size-fits-all program to solve poverty! What’s the cost of “local, State, and private resources” taking on these burdens? Who is to say? Probably Jesus!
In DeVos’ new suggested budget, cuts to education mean trimming federal expenditures on things like the Special Olympics. Even if you are a piece of worthless detritus like Betsy DeVos, can you not even foresee the problematic optics of being so petty? No, billionaires like Betsy DeVos and (maybe a billionaire) Donald Trump have no shame. And those two in particular are also stupid people who think they are geniuses.