DeVos Confirmation Stirs Mixed Reactions
Controversial Secretary of Education gets confirmation
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Last Tuesday Betsy DeVos, a charter school advocate, was confirmed by the Senate as the Secretary of Education. Her confirmation was made by a split tie breaker of 50-50 that Vice President Pence’s vote decided.
DeVos, who was a controversial pick for the role, has a reputation from both Democrats and Republicans as being inexperienced and unreliable for the position, given her lack of political experience and formal background in Washington D.C.
The vote, which was ultimately decided by Pence, signified the first time that a Vice President decided a secretary position in a 50-50 deadlock tie. For Republicans, this confirmation came as a success towards setting up a conservative foundation to support Trump’s presidential platform.
As for students across the country, whom DeVos represents, reactions were mixed and opinions varied. As a major support of charter schools, DeVos supports strict adherence to theological teachings in schools and conservative approach towards education. This means that under her leadership, students face a future in their education that will begin to move more towards the right side of politics, a complete juxtaposition from the liberal stance that is often found in colleges and universities throughout the country.
Specifically, for students at Cal State LA, many fear that DeVos will get rid of the financial support that is being given to students on a scarce basis already. Furthermore, many believe that conservative approaches to education will eliminate the focus of artistic teachings and humanities. Victoria Pastorelle, a local student, noted that, “DuVoy is the least qualified of all possible candidates for the position. She hasn’t even stepped foot in an elementary school, let alone spent actual time with students.”
When interviewing students around campus, many spoke their mind on the subject, but did not want to be named as to remain anonymous. Once such group said, “When looking at Trump’s nominations thus far, it’s apparent that he is pushing for a strong conservative government and cabinet around him. By doing so, he’s effectively strengthening the support and likelihood that his executive-ordered policies will become a permanent reality.”
However, when analyzing the comments that varied citizens and populus of Los Angeles wrote their opinions in the forums of the L.A. Times opinion section. Gregory Fisher, a local Los Angeles worker noted, “The only time public school systems allow choice is when they choose to limit yours.”
For Fisher and many others at Cal State LA and in the surrounding geographic landscape, Trump’s decisions continue to misaddress fundamental issues that they believe have long-plagued the country. When moving towards a more “right” education system, the majority of the students interviewed feared for the loss of their financial support and assistance, which they comfortably find currently. With DeVos as the education secretary, they believe that all of that can change.
However, it is apparent that students around the country and locally feel a plethora of emotion when it comes to DeVos’ appointment. However, as the Senate has already confirmed her appointment, it is less of looking at the future, but more so learning how to influence and react to the incoming changes.