Betsy DeVos, our new president’s nominee for Secretary of Education, is not a product of our government school system. She attended private school herself. Her children are not products of the government education either. They all attended private school. She is, therefore, according to some of our education bureaucracy mavens, not a suitable choice to head up the Department of Education. This is one of those claims that might, in the wrong light, seem reasonable for a couple of seconds, and so I thought I should try to hold your attention for more than a couple of seconds. Here. Step out into the sunshine.
Quick. Who was the last president to have their school-aged child attend the government schools of Washington D.C.? You are correct. It was Jimmy Carter, who seems entirely capable of a stunt like that. His daughter Amy, age 9, attended public school in D.C. Not so Sasha and Malia Obama. Not so Chelsea Clinton. Not so Julie and Tricia Nixon. You get the point. And prior to Carter’s grandstanding, the last time a sitting president entrusted the education of his child to the ministrations of tax-supported knowledge insertion was 1906.
Why are we requiring for the Secretary of Education a standard that none of the presidents of the last 100 years would have met? Let us not count Carter. Let us look the other way politely.
DeVos is an intelligent, highly-qualified, well-educated woman, one who is unlikely in the extreme to carry on business as usual. If the system is failing, as the public school system is, then why on earth would you want to select—as the one appointed to fix it—someone who was shaped by that system, and who was entirely beholden to it? To say that she cannot bring real reform because she is an “outsider” is to argue that the CTo say that she cannot bring real reform because she is an “outsider” is to argue that the CEO of JiffyLube would make a terrible choice to head up the DMV in inner city Baltimore. He has these crazy ideas about how long people should be standing in line, and that word jiffy sends the wrong signal entirely. In fact, we think it borders on hate speech.EO of JiffyLube would make a terrible choice to head up the DMV in inner city Baltimore. He has these crazy ideas about how long people should be standing in line, and that word jiffy sends the wrong signal entirely. In fact, we think it borders on hate speech.
And notice what draws everyone’s ire about DeVos. She is an advocate of school choice. And lo—all the pro-choicers suddenly disappeared. They were just marching on Washington in their vagina hats a few days ago. So some lame defenders of the women’s march thought we had a surfeit of responsible voices shouting their quaint obscenities about the need for choice. But then, when a nice Christian lady appears, offering an actual choice to parents all across the country, the machine moves into opposition mode. “We are pro-choice, not pro-effin-choices.”
Her emphasis on school choice, and on the empowerment of parents in local settings, and her opposition to the swollen engorgement of educational decrees emanating from the DC Death Star, is simply glorious.
I say this as an advocate for private education. I am entirely about private education. My focus is private education. And I am delighted with the nomination of Betsy DeVos. Anyone who is acquainted with the challenges that were looming for private schools in the event of a Clinton presidency knows that all of us dodged a bullet there. Actually we dodged a whistling howitzer shell.
Not to put too fine a point of it, Betsy DeVos is an answer to prayer for everyone who wants the freedom from government regulation and overreach as we attempt to provide real education for the next generation. A real answer to prayer.
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:1–2).