By Sarah Knebel | Business Manager
For a large majority of the country, President Donald Trump winning the position of President of the United States in this year’s election was difficult to comprehend. But as the fearful fate of our country’s future began to creep up on U.S. citizens as the inauguration neared, it was not surprising when President Trump placed an unfit, inexperienced billionaire in the position of Secretary of Education, sending the citizens of this country into a tailspin.
Proper education matters, and so does experience. How is one able to perform excellently if they are not equipped with the tools to do so? This is the question I, and the American people, have for someone like Betsy DeVos, who is the newly selected Secretary of Education, and President Donald Trump.
Betsy DeVos is not necessarily an unsuccessful woman per say, but when compared to the people who held this position before her, DeVos most definitely lacks in places where others excel. Betsy DeVos graduated from Calvin College with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science, and after her degree was earned, there was no further education obtained to build her credibility as a highly educated woman. No challenge was accepted to compete against others in her field in graduate school. There was no push to earn that master’s degree. Sure, she has a college education, and sometimes that is enough, but is it enough to make executive decisions regarding the education system of our country? I surely don’t believe so.
Aside from the level of degree one holds, when it comes to using federal loans to pay for a college education, Betsy DeVos and her children were fortunate enough to be excluded from the percentage that has to pull out loans. So when questioned by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts regarding fraud and abuse when it comes to withholding federal student aid from universities that will put students into endless debt after they graduate, Betsy DeVos simply could not relate. DeVos lacks the stress and anxiety involving student loans, does not have to worry about whether or not the education is worth the cost, and hoping that after it all you’ll have a satisfying job. Being a college student who has watched her family borrow money from the government, this fills me with anger. If you haven’t gone through it, how can you understand? How are you, Secretary DeVos, going to put the concern of young college students and their families first and assure them that they will be able to gain an education, not be cheated, and for the cost, hopefully earn the money that you and your family do one day? I hope we are a priority, I truly do.
Finally, the people’s reaction to Betsy DeVos’ responses regarding education at her confirmation hearing was the most concerning. Unfortunately, the questions asked were not properly addressed, and the ones questioning did not take this lack of knowledge regarding the regulations within the educational system lightly. The frustration and worry was revealed mostly through Elizabeth Warren. After several questions remained unanswered or brushed off by the phrase “it will be discussed,” Warren finally said, “If Betsy DeVos cannot commit to using the Department of Education’s many tools and resources to protect students for fraud, I don’t see how she can be Secretary of Education.” The lack of response from DeVos has forcefully caused people to feel she is unfit for the job, and rightfully so.
I believe that the American people wanted to see DeVos fight back, show confidence in her abilities, and have a plan, but she proved that she did not. She was all too comfortable with her simple phrase of “it will be reviewed,” making all who were listening become troubled, uncomfortable and worried.
Now that our country is officially stuck with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, it does not aid our country to wish for her failure. The best advice I can give is to hope for the success of Secretary DeVos and continue to remind her that when handling education at this level, there is no time for learning. At the level of Secretary of Education, you are the teacher, the educator, and the experienced one.
The educational system needs a leader, and I hope that for the sake of our country and education, Betsy DeVos understands this. We need someone who is strong and ready to make a change for the millions of students today and for our educational system that affects our generations to come.