Ignorance and Arrogance – the Defining Characteristics of the Betsy DeVos Hearing

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Betsy DeVos wouldn’t commit to protecting students with special needs.

She wouldn’t commit to keeping guns out of school campuses.

She wouldn’t commit to holding charter and voucher schools to the same standards as traditional public schools.

She didn’t know the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was a federal law.

And she couldn’t explain the difference between proficiency and growth.

That’s your nominee for Secretary of Education, America!

During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) tonight, DeVos showed herself to be hopelessly out of her depth.

She tried to cover her ignorance by being noncommittal. But it was obvious that she had no idea what she was talking about more than half the time.

And far from being a fair arbiter, Senator Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairperson of the committee, did everything he could to shield her from further embarrassment. He artificially limited each member of the committee to only five minutes of questions.

Why? Because in the past the committee had fewer questions for President Barack Obama’s nominees for the position, Arne Duncan and John King.

What a farce! Duncan and King were terrible Education Secretaries, but at least they had some experience in the field! Duncan was Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. King started his own charter school and was New York Commissioner of Education.

Betsy DeVos was never anything. She has never held a real job. She’s never had a job interview, nor has she ever been hired by anyone!

Her entire portfolio is being a rich Republican mega-donor. All she’s ever done is use her and her family’s obscene fortune to push for school vouchers, remove charter school accountability, advocate for Common Core and persecute LGBT people.

Of course there will be more questions! It’s not because she’s a Republican or that she was nominated by GOP President-elect Donald Trump!

It’s because she’s a twit!

Moreover, she hasn’t yet been cleared of conflicts of interest from the ethics commission nor have her financial disclosures been made public.

But no worries. Big Daddy Alexander was there to protect her from Senators on both sides of the aisle who had pointed questions for her about her experience, knowledge and about what she planned to do to public education if confirmed.

Never in the history of this nation has a more unqualified candidate been presented for such an important job.

How ironic that under the Trump administration we’re presented with a potential Education Secretary so in need of education, herself!

It’s an insult to the nation’s parents, students and teachers.

So how did she even get here?

Money.

She’s given nearly $2.7 million in political donations to 370 individuals and causes over the past 20 years through 819 total contributions, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. A little more than $2 million of that has gone to Republican candidates or causes, while a mere $8,000 went to Democratic candidates or groups.

That includes at least five members of the HELP Committee who will get to vote on her nomination. Sen. Tim Scott (R–SC) has received $49,200 from the DeVos family and was a keynote speaker at DeVos’ American Federation for Children annual summit in May 2016. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has received at least $70,200 from the DeVoses. Two other HELP committee members, Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), each have received $43,200 from the family. Newly elected Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) got $48,600 from the DeVos family in 2016.

However, those are just direct donations. Ten members of the HELP committee have received donations from Alticor Political Action Committee, or ALTIPAC. This PAC belongs to Alticor, the DeVos family company and parent company of Amway—the multilevel marketing giant that fueled the DeVos family fortune—and receives nearly half of its funds from the DeVos family. This includes Sen. Alexander, himself, who received $4,500 from ALTIPAC.

Devos has been rather upfront in the past about why she’s donated so much money to politicians.

In a 1997 op-ed she wrote for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, DeVos explained: “[M]y family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party… I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point… We expect a return on our investment.”

This is something she shares with Trump, who has also bragged about paying for influence with his own campaign donations. “I’ve given to everybody. Because that was my job,” Trump bragged at a rally last January. “I gotta give it to them. Because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”

That’s what we saw tonight on Capital Hill. It wasn’t a confirmation hearing. It was a bunch of bought politicians lining up to kiss DeVos’ white privileged butt.

There was resistance, but to what end?

Reason, knowledge, ethics – none of that matters here. We are truly in the age of the plutocrats where money has arrogantly attempted to buy governmental power outright. Right in front of our noses.

Only time will tell if she is ultimately confirmed.

In the meantime, our system of public education hangs in the balance.

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31 thoughts on “Ignorance and Arrogance – the Defining Characteristics of the Betsy DeVos Hearing

  1. O. M. G. — how can ANYBODY take this woman seriously?!

    Did she not even TRY to prepare for her confirmation hearing, or is she so stupid she couldn’t remember what somebody (surely!) attempted to back-fill for her, like a coach trying to help a jock cramming for an exam so he could play in Saturday’s big game? Does she even know what IDEA *is*?

    I hate even the idea of Twitter, but it actually might be worth signing up simply to tweet one sentence from this article: “DeVoss: Never in the history of this nation has a more unqualified candidate been presented for such an important job. WHY?”

    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Last week Trump asked, “Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/01/11/trumps-blasts-intell-officials-we-living-nazi-germany/96436992/

    We must learn from history. Resistance must be BIG and LOUD right from the start. Unlike Hitler in Germany, Littlefingers Donald Trump does not have wide support in the United States. Even a large segment of those who voted for him justified their votes by saying they weren’t voting for him but were voting against Hillary Clinton, and she still had almost 3-million more votes than Littlefingers did even after all the voter suppression in some GOP domain ted states.

    Look what happens when the resistance is small and unorganized.

    “German Resistance to Hitler”

    https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005208

    And to think, that recently Littlefingers compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany because of the voices of resistance to his presidency. What did he mean by that; will he crush resistance early and violently just like the Nazis did because that’s what he wants, the same power, support, and adulation from the masses that Hitler had?

    And to answer Littlefingers Donald Trump’s question that started this comment of mine, “No, we aren’t living in Nazi Germany. We live in the Con-Man, Groping, Liar-in-Chief’s America and hopefully that won’t turn out the same as Nazi Germany, becaues all those Americans that voted against him will resist and keep protesting.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent blog Steven as usual!!! I’m with John Armstrong-Miller – I heard she donated over $200 MILLION. It’s pretty pathetic that Trump is nominating people who are not only NOT fit for the job but are UNQUALIFIED. I’m sure she will be confirmed though since she donated $$$ as we all know – $$$$$ does a LOT of talking and makes things happen. Absolutely despicable and sickening if this woman is confirmed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never would have believed that if you had enough money you could be the president of the USA. I think it is about time the rest of the country speak up or shut up. I am sick of Trump and his administration. Is America this stupid? I am serious, is America this stupid?

      Like

      • “Is America this stupid?”

        Not all of America. Don’t forget that Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. The only reason he won the election was because of the Electoral College, voter suppression tactics in a few GOP-controlled states, the Alt-Right hate media machine, Trump’s endless and outrageous lies, the FBI picking on Hillary’s e-mails instead of Trump’s treason and links to Putin, etc.

        The United States is the only alleged democracy in the world where the loser of the popular vote can win and that is because of a compromise made during the 18th-century revolution to keep the slave owning colonies in the fight against the British Empire. The Electoral College was that compromise.

        According to FiveThirtyEight.com on April 1, The Malignant Narcissist in the White House has a disapproval rate of 53.1 percent and only 40.5 percent approve of what he is doing as president.

        https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

        FORTY-POINT-FIVE PERCENT I’m disappointed that there are that many Americans who are so ignorant and stupid they are so easily fooled.

        Like

  4. n “The art of War”, Sun-Tzu says: “If a battle cannot be won, don’t fight it” see http://thewisdomwarrior.com/tag/sun-tzu/‘

    In the entire history of the USA, only about 9 (nine) individuals who have been nominated for a cabinet post, have failed to receive confirmation by the Senate.

    People who are opposed to the nominee for SecEd, should accept the decision of the Senate. You should now start working with the new SecEd, to bring in programs which are the best for the children, who are the consumers of the education which will be provided.

    Like

  5. This is all part of the master plan. This is the start of the decline of American education, the powers that be don’t want it’s citizens to be educated. Uneducated citizens = a country who can be led where the politicians want them. Keep them poor and uneducated and they will do what they’re told to do, absolutely heinous!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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