Experience! How exactly does a woman with no experience in education be tapped to be the Secretary of Education? I guess it kind of follows Trump’s motto of experience isn’t necessary, but let me tell you why it is.
I’ve been a teacher for twelve years, and in that twelve years I have seen the pendulum of education swing at least three times. I have seen millions of dollars spent to change the name of the standardized tests. My work load has increased, my class sizes have increased, and my pay has decreased. Well, the pay hasn’t really decreased, but I haven’t had a COLA in twelve years and yet insurance has gone up and so has the price on many other items. This has all happened because politicians and not teachers have been running education.
Betsy DeVos is no exception. She has never worked in education. She’s never been a teacher. She’s never had parents yell at her because their kids are failing. She’s never had to tell kids that nothing they do but a single test really matters. She’s never had to fill out paperwork to prove that she does an acceptable job – and not a good job, mind you because with our new teacher evalution process, you can rarely be good, you have to settle for adequate. We are told we can’t live in “distinguished” or good, we can only visit. Yet if I told my students, they couldn’t live with A’s, they could only visit, I would be fired.
Betsy DeVos has never even had a child in public education.
Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing on the face. I think private schools are great. I envy the fact that they don’t have to do the standardized tests the rest of us do. I’m not sure how I feel about charter schools, as the ones near me haven’t done well, but I have heard of other ones who have, but my point is – How can you run public education if you’ve never been a single part of any of it? Not a teacher, not a faculty, not even a parent.
It would be like me being hired to run a hospital. It would be ludicrous. I have some managing experience, but I have never been a doctor or a nurse. I don’t know the challenges they face or deal with on a day to day basis.
The Secretary of Education should be someone who has been in the front lines. Someone who understands that one test should not decide if a student can graduate or not. Someone who understands that not every kid needs Algebra II but every kid should know how to balance a check book and calculate interest rates. Someone who knows if you want to see a change work, you have to start at Kindergarten and let the kids grow up with it, not change the rules on them in 9th grade. Someone who knows that the best way to have good teachers is to let them teach what they are passionate about and watch them in action.
I have no hope that Betsy DeVos is going to do this. The best I can hope for is that she decides public education should be left to the states and dissolves the Department of Education. Of course sadly, my state hasn’t fully funded education for years, and they would rather be fined daily than actually find a way to make it work, but that’s a story for another day.
Lorana Hoopes is a Christian author who focuses on the inspirational with a touch of romance.Her books are available at Amazon.