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Secretary of Education vs. Education

Two years ago, President Donald Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to be the next Secretary of Education. She immediately faced backlash for her apparent lack of experience with the public education system in the United States; she went to private school and eventually sent her children to private schools. In a historic event, she managed to squeak by with a tie-breaking vote from the President of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence.


Since then, DeVos has pushed for programs that have received an equal amount of pushback. Most recently, DeVos has supported and defended the Trump administration’s 2020 budget-cut request that includes cutting funding to Special Olympics programs, Gallaudet University, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. When asked by the House Appropriations Committee for the reason behind such devastating cuts, DeVos simply said:


“We had to make some difficult decisions.”

DeVos lacks the understanding that is required by a Secretary of Education. She has never attended a public school nor has she ever worked as a teacher, principal, administrator, or superintendent at one. This has been more than obvious in her repeated attempts to limit the education of some 50 million students in the public school system and about 20 million students in U.S. universities and colleges.


Now, DeVos and the Trump administration are taking aim at students with mental and physical disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is the biggest source of funding for special education programs in the U.S. DeVos, however, wants to change this into a state issue, rather than something enforced by the federal government. While usually I would welcome more state power, the fact that this program has been federally funded for so long has guaranteed the success of the institutions it serves. Changing the source of the funding could result in disastrous effects that would hinder the educational opportunities of the men and women seeking a learning environment that will accommodate their special needs.


On top of her promotion of special education budget cuts, she would prefer to allocate more money to charter schools, which she has been a vehement supporter of despite their relatively low success rate. For a close-to-home example, Ohio charter schools have a graduation rate of just under 45%, while there is a 73% graduation rate in some of Ohio’s biggest districts like Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Akron, and Toledo according to a study conducted by the Ohio Education Policy Institute in 2017.

This debate is far from over and I hope that there will be some shining light for the special education programs and other important areas that face budget cut threats. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; my education is so beyond important to me. I was brought up in a very strong public education system that has benefited me in countless ways. There is something fundamentally wrong with the under-qualified Secretary of Education if she makes/supports any moves that prove to be anything but helpful to students in the U.S and strip them of learning development.



Claire is a Cleveland native in her fourth & final year at Denison University and is excited to continue her role as the Co-President for the Denison chapter! While she studies Spanish and Political Science, she loves to write in her spare time. She wants to emphasize topics that she is passionate about, spread positivity and optimism in the world, and connect with people through her writing. When she isn't writing or studying, you can find Claire spending time with her family and friends, staying active, enjoying the outdoors, or listening to music.
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