I find it interesting that no one minded who the Secretary of Education was until a unpopular President handpicked someone for the job. Don't get me wrong: she is completely unqualified; the villain in the general overview of what our country is doing/could be doing with public education.
I haven't looked into her that much because, not only is it disheartening, it doesn't really matter. I know this is equivalent to sticking one's head in the sand, but who the Secretary of Education is isn't actually the point. The point is that our nation's educational system has been in a downward spiral for awhile.
I'm on the front lines. It's terrifying out here. Every state uses different measures of success. Every district uses different curriculum (because selling curriculum to schools is a business, plain and simple). And every school requires different criteria from its students. Plus, the current culture affects our educational system more than the label "Secretary of Education" ever could.
Truthfully, I don't fear DeVos. I don't like her, but I'm not afraid of what she will do (which will likely be nothing because I don't think she or the President really care about education).
I fear what will happen if the above-linked culture continues to run our schools. Things are already bad when it comes to testing, accountability on the schools' parts, etc. NO ONE takes poverty into account when it comes to ranking schools or rating teachers. Poverty is the root of the problem in our schools and until we solve poverty, schools will be in trouble. Poverty affects test scores, it affects how kids learn, and it affects what kind of money schools receive from the state. Each state has a different system for giving money to schools, so all states are NOT created equal. When I get students from out of state (in any state I've worked in, really), I never know where they're going to be. Parents often see the differences in schools right away.
Obama's administration actually did a lot of harm to the public school system, as teachers see it. The bar is not set high, and we're in trouble as a country. It's easy to blame any future implementation on an unqualified Secretary of Education, but things are already bad.
A former professor of mine posted this:
And for me to speak my peace/piece...For the record:
- I do not believe in charter schools. Many are for-profit. If a district opens a charter school, that school funnels money from the public schools and can use it for whatever they want. There is not an accountability system. Charter schools operate within the district, but don't have to follow the rules of the district when it comes to money and testing. Most public school districts already offer school choice: as in, you can pick any school in the district to attend.
- I am a proponent of private education if you can afford to pay for it. I don't believe it's any better or worse than public schools.
- I am a product of public schools, have only ever taught in public schools, and I believe in the system. I do believe that, out of the four states I've taught in, Alaska has it the most together. District-specific, though, the one I worked for in Missouri impressed me the most.
And, in the end, I'm glad I have the ability and confidence to homeschool any future children we may have. Because I totally would. That's how confident I am in general about the current educational landscape in America. DeVos has very little to do with that.
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