Marquette Wire

KAUFMAN: Public schools at risk with DeVos appointment

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It’s no news that President Trump has made a number of controversial cabinet nominations. However, none seem more inappropriate, or more contrary to reason, than his appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

DeVos has never run, attended, taught in or sent a child to a public school — all relevant credentials one would expect of the person in charge of our nation’s public school budget.

Instead, her background experience essentially reaches no further than her position as a lobbyist, using her family’s extraordinary wealth to support her single-minded effort to replace public schools with privately-run charter schools and use vouchers to move students out of public schools.

Public schools throughout our nation are struggling, and DeVos’ commitment to charter schools and school-choice vouchers will be detrimental to public schools and the assurance that access to quality education is a basic right of every American.

Public schools have a special place in my heart. My dad is a professor at a Wisconsin state school and my entire family grew up attending public schools. As a public school student in Wisconsin, I was able to witness firsthand the early effects of Governor Walker’s Act 10 legislation.

It is no surprise that Governor Walker endorsed DeVos for Secretary of Education, considering he has received over $340,000 from DeVos throughout his political career. Walker and DeVos share similar ideologies about privatizing education and using vouchers to relocate more affluent students to charter schools, leaving behind a large population of underprivileged students.

DeVos’ views on school-choice vouchers have sparked a conversation about the potential resegregation of schools, as they often leave underprivileged minorities in failing schools. Those who advocate for voucher programs must consider these serious consequences for the most vulnerable children of our country.

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision declared school segregation unconstitutional, but racial stigmas and prejudices still persist in the push for private education. It seems voucher programs only affirm this movement.

In the last 25 years, the number of severely racially isolated schools, defined as those with 0 to 10 percent white students, has tripled.

However, research has also shown the negative consequences of racially segregated schools for both white students and students of color. A 2011 study by Rucker C. Johnson at the National Bureau of Economic Research on the long-term impacts of court-ordered school desegregation on students’ life trajectories found that black children who attend desegregated schools end up with higher income, higher wages and better long-term health.

In addition, this research shows desegregated schools educate all students on how to best contribute to American society.

If I had the opportunity to choose my educational path all over again, I would undoubtedly choose 13 years more of public education. Growing up, I was granted the opportunity to learn alongside people very different from me, and being taught to embrace that diversity has shaped me as a person. The need for an inclusive society is more prevalent today than ever, and those values are fostered first and foremost in the classroom.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “KAUFMAN: Public schools at risk with DeVos appointment”

  1. pepesilvia on February 17th, 2017 10:42 am

    You end with saying you would choose 13 more years of public schools, while writing for the MARQUETTE wire! hahaha why did you choose to attend MU if you love public schools so much?

    Do you truly believe that resegregation of schools is going to happen again? That’s pure delusion on your part. Get over it.

    You mention that you witnessed the “early effects” of Walker’s Act 10, but don’t cite what you witnessed… Did you witness the snowflakes flock to the capital to cry about having to do a decent job to earn their paycheck? Because Act 10 is the greatest thing that could have happened to WI public schools. Drain the swamp that is out of touch teachers who are only teaching because of their tenure and not their ability to teach.

    <3

  2. M. Hansen on February 18th, 2017 9:55 am

    Amen! Finally some hope for those who seek a better education than what’s dictated by the extreme liberal.

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