Opinion: DeVos pick an affront to U.S. education


Bobbie Szabo

Bobbie Szabo

I am the daughter of a teacher. I am the granddaughter of a teacher. I am the niece of a teacher. I am a friend of many teachers.

Teachers have been, without question, the most formative people in my life — both inside and outside of academia.

This is true for many people. When one looks at a report card, one sees language arts, social studies, math and science. What one does not see, however, are the lessons which could never be articulated in a syllabus.

We have to thank teachers for those lessons, too.

Teachers have taught me empathy, patience and kindness. They have taught me the value of human lives and the importance of standing up for what is right. They have taught me how to be a good person.

Teachers are formative and influential in a way no other professionals could possibly be; every single person who has ever attended school has been affected by a teacher. We owe our entire worlds to educators for giving us the ability to communicate, to articulate our ideas, to interact with other human beings, to formulate thoughts and implement plans, to calculate risks, to understand consequences, to realize our potential impact on the world, to comprehend the struggles of others, to do nearly everything we do on a daily basis.

When educators cannot work at their best, students suffer. When the focus of an educational system is not on creating well-rounded and enthusiastic learners, students — and our country as a whole — suffer. When our society focuses more on profit and more on budget cuts than quality schooling, our country suffers. When people like Betsy DeVos are appointed to positions like secretary of education without any experience working with public schools and obvious bias against teachers, our country suffers.

Neither Betsy DeVos nor any of her children attended public school at any time in their lives. Despite this, DeVos, acting as chair of a pro-school-choice lobby group called American Federation for Children, has been a leading force in the increase of charter schools in Michigan — most of which have standardized test scores lower than average.

She is not an educator. She has no credentials for setting educational standards or allocating funds for educational systems. She is nothing but a lobbyist who has repeatedly ignored scientific evidence contrary to her own ideologies.

My mother is going to suffer. My friends are going to suffer. The children of this country are going to suffer.

Our society is going to become less educated. It will be easier for people to believe “alternative facts,” which are undoubtedly fallacies. Without a strong education system, our country and our people cannot succeed. Teachers and education are the very foundation of our society, and to put someone so purposefully ignorant to facts in charge is abhorrent.

Call your senators. Email them. Do everything you possibly can to stop this — I certainly am.

Bobbie Szabo is a columnist, contact her at [email protected]