When there are as many Democratic candidates vying for the party’s nomination as there are in 2020 — we’re somehow at 24 candidates at the moment — you’re bound to see them all doing their damnedest to stand out. And the savviest politicians know the quickest way to do that is to borrow a page from ESPN basketball analysts and deliver some piping hot takes.
That’s right, the politics of civility and dancing around are over. Democratic candidates are speaking their mind and spitting their vitriol, basically roasting members of the Trump administration at every campaign stop.
One of the clearest indications of the tonal shift that started with the toxic 2016 election is Elizabeth Warren and her… well… choice words for current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Warren called her, “the Worst Secretary of Education We’ve Seen.”
Is that the case? Is DeVos hanging out in the cellar of all-time Education Secretaries? And what has she done to earn Warren’s ire? Read on to find out…
In the United States, education is in dire straights.
You’d think wising up our future generations would be a top priority, right? The number one thing old people complain about is The Youth of Today, so if they’re voting against their education, isn’t that the old people’s fault?
First of all, there’s just no money.
And speaking of the education budget, schools just have no money whatsoever. Teachers are constantly paying out-of-pocket for supplies, and textbooks are falling apart. One possible reason schools are so behind the eight ball financially is the switch from blackboards to whiteboards costing more than anyone could have dreamed.
Teachers are leaving the profession at higher and higher rates.
Insider reports that “more than 40% of teachers leave the profession within five years.” Talent drain is not a good sign for any industry, and especially not at those levels.
And schools are the only type of public institution we regularly describe as “crumbling.”
I feel like you hear that a lot, right? “Our crumbling public schools?” How bad are they when the most common way to describe them is that they have pieces tumbling off and onto the streets?
Is it insanely political to say we want our schools to be well-funded and our teachers well compensated?
If you’re in charge of smartening up the next generation, I’d prefer if you weren’t splitting your time between that and doing Grubhub deliveries just because you have to make ends meet.
But our current Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, sure seems to have different priorities.
Betsy DeVos, the wealthy philanthropist appointed by Donald Trump to be Education Secretary, has made numerous questionable choices since she took up her post in 2017.
And now, Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has some tough words for DeVos: she says DeVos is “the Worst Secretary of Education We’ve Seen.”
The senior Senator from Massachusetts and current Democratic Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is not holding back on her opinions of Betsy DeVos, saying, “[DeVos] and her team are up to their eyeballs in conflicts of interest. Instead of championing our students, they protect for-profit colleges that break the law and cheat them.”
And, wow, is Ted Sanders, who served as acting U.S. Secretary of Education, from November 1990 to March 1991, ever breathing a sigh of relief right now.
Ted Sanders, who served as interim Education Secretary for a mere five months, was a dull man without an ounce of presence. His coworkers neither hated nor loved him, because he was not the kind of man upon whom one could form an opinion. He was just sort of nothing in a suit. In the picture above, you can see Sanders thinking hard about his favorite kind of oatmeal.
But is DeVos really the worst Secretary of Education ever? Let’s dive in.
First of all, our head of public education is for some reason obsessed with funding charter schools. As reported by Education Votes, DeVos has deep connections and history with the privatization movement, which aims to direct public money away from public schools and towards charter schools and other for-profit schools. Should that movement prevail, it’d be hard for poor kids to, you know, go to school.
She’s big on hacking down her own department’s budget.
As reported by The Washington Post, DeVos is willing to argue for her own department’s budget to be cut. Now, I’m no economist, but if you actually believe in what you’re doing, wouldn’t you want more money to accomplish your objectives? That makes sense, right? I’m not going insane?
She’s rolled back an Obama-era program meant to curb the number of suspensions that are disproportionately levied against students of color.
Not sure how you could look at any type of punishment, see that it’s disproportionately affecting students of a certain race, and go, “Yes, this is what I need and want to happen. I am a good person, who did good work today at my job.”
Plus, she sees nothing wrong with cutting the Special Olympics’ funding.
The Special Olympics, folks! Betsy DeVos worked to cut 18 million from the Special Olympics’ budget. The political blowback has since seen President Trump reverse the decision, but it’s nuts that this cut was even proposed in the first place.
That is, officially, a twirling-your-mustache-and-tying-a-woman-to-the-train-tracks level of evil.
You know you’ve gone too far when you need Donald Trump to step in because you were too cruel to a group of marginalized people.
So while it’s tough to say how she stacks up to most United States Secretaries of Education…
(Again, except Ted Sanders, who was dull as can be and is seen here trying to decide if his favorite weekend activity is sitting or staring.)
… clearly DeVos has done enough shady and cruel things to justify the title.
When there’s smoke there’s fire, and that fire is probably coming from a public school where Betsy DeVos is burning school supplies in front of the students.
Now, calling DeVos “the Worst Secretary of Education We’ve Seen” is no “noun, verb, 9/11.”
One of the best political slams of our day saw then-Senator Joe Biden say New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has nothing to say, and that his every sentence consisted of nothing more than “noun, verb, 9/11.” (Although, here’s a comedy tip, Joe — don’t repeat the “I’m serious” so many times. Waters down your punchline.)
Or “you’re no Jack Kennedy,” for that matter.
But one of the best political roasts in history came during the 1988 Vice Presidential debate, when Senator Lloyd Bentsen said to Senator Dan Quayle, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” YA BURNT, DAN QUAYLE. YA BURNT.
But we like to think Warren is saving the freshest lines of her diss track for Trump himself.
It’s one thing to say DeVos is “the worst Secretary of Education we’ve seen,” but it’s not quite sticky, you know? It doesn’t look good on a bumper sticker. Here’s hoping Warren’s saving the megaton bombs for the general election.
Also, Elizabeth Warren has promised to appoint an actual schoolteacher as Education Secretary if she’s elected.
God, it feels like common sense, doesn’t it? Put someone who’s done the job in charge of other people doing the job. That’d be like hiring someone to coach Major League Baseball, having never watched a game (and, to continue the DeVos simile, who also hates Major League Baseball and thinks only wealthy oil barons should get to see it.)
Just imagine, an actual teacher running the Department of Education.
First of all, they’d be hugely helpful at cabinet meetings. There’s ultimately no discernible difference between the President of the United States’ hand-picked cabinet and a classroom of unruly students. And a teacher knows just how to get their attention, usually by raising their hand and shouting, “when hand goes up, mouth goes shut.”
“Education Secretary Bucks” for members of Congress who are good helpers.
If a Congressman is really good and helps the new Education Secretary write a bill, they’ll get some Education Secretary Bucks, which can be spent on awesome prizes like cool pencil-top erasers, or if you save up all year, maybe even a pizza party for you and your two best Congressfriends!
And they’ll probably be chill about it if you accidentally call them “mom.”
Man, you ever do that? Call your teacher “mom?” So embarrassing. I bet it happens to Education Secretaries all the time, and they’re probably used to it by now.
Plus, they’d probably be really good at Fortnite.
Yo, have you interacted with a kid 15 or under lately? All they do now is play Fortnite. No teacher has any hope of connecting with their students if they don’t have a Season Nine Battle Pass.
And that’s not the only promise Warren’s made in education — she’s also promising universal childcare…
Because how are you supposed to go to work if you’ve got to stay home and take care of a baby?
… and to cancel 1.25 trillion in student debt.
And how are you supposed to survive if you put all the money you make from going to work towards student loans?
A public school teacher sure seems like an obvious candidate to run the Department of Education.
At least they’d have some experience, unlike Betsy DeVos. She spent her entire life in the private sector. God forbid you try to get a few moments educating kids. Teach arts & crafts at a summer camp some point, Jesus Christ.
Because someone needs to address what’s going on in education in a way that helps everyone, not just the rich.
It’s important to remember that Betsy DeVos comes from incredible wealth, so she’s just looking out for her people. But it’s also important to remember that her job title is Secretary of Education, not Secretary of Education For Those Who Can Afford It.
As Obama’s Education Secretary, John B. King Jr., said, “Schools can save lives.”
In an early 2017 interview with NPR, then-Education Secretary John B. King Jr. described an event in Chicago with kids “who have been involved in the criminal justice system and are trying to get their lives back on track, and he’s working to help them. It was a powerful moment, both because of the difference that mentors are making in their lives and also just talking with them about my own experience.”
See, King knows an intervention at the right time could make all the difference in a kid’s life. And every dollar we cut out of the education button is one less shot to potentially intervene.
And it’s heartbreaking to think that the kids who need saving the most…
… could be overlooked if their well-being doesn’t increase profits.
Because they deserve a good education too.
Kids are just that — kids. The idea that some will get a good education and some won’t based on the ultimately arbitrary distinction of how much money their parents have is just gross.