7 Desperate Liberal Lies About Trump's Education Pick Betsy DeVos
Every time President-elect Donald Trump names a cabinet pick, liberals have a field day— how can they paint a Trump pick as racist, elitist, extremist, and all-around evil? These attacks reached a fever pitch against Trump's selection for secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.
As Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) wrote in National Review, the debate over education usually proceeds with "a modicum of civility."
In 2015, President Obama nominated former New York education commissioner John King to be secretary of education. The very same Republican Senate which fought tooth and nail against Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland raised nary a peep against King, despite his troubled record in New York, which featured a horrible rollout of Common Core.
Arne Duncan, Obama's first secretary of education, had never taught, and had served for seven years as superintendent of schools in Chicago — which had some of the nation's highest-paid teachers, mediocre student outcomes, and an underfunded pension fund. Duncan was even a basketball friend of Obama's, and could have been attacked as a Chicago crony. He was not.
But when Trump chose DeVos, the floodgates opened. Here are seven attacks liberals launched against her, and explanations of why they are dead wrong.
1. She's against public education.
"Betsy DeVos is very much against public education," declared USA Today senior political reporter Heidi Przybyla on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews." Przybyla wasn't alone, either. The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss wrote a story entitled "To Trump's education pick, the U.S. public school system is a 'dead end.'"
Strauss was indeed quoting DeVos' words, from a speech she gave at South by Southwest in Texas in 2015. "We are beneficiaries of start-ups, ventures, and innovation in every other area of life, but we don't have that in education because it's a closed system, a closed industry, a closed market," DeVos said. "It's a monopoly, a dead end. And the best and brightest innovators and risk-takers steer way clear of it. As long as education remains a closed system, we will never see the education equivalents of Google, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, Wikipedia, or Uber."
DeVos wasn't condemning the U.S. education system, she was supporting reforms to bring in more choice. "Reasonable people don't read that speech or listen to it and get hung up on 'dead end,'" wrote Ed Patru, spokesman for Friends of Betsy DeVos, in an email to Valerie Strauss.
"Strauss knows full well that Betsy doesn't believe public schools are a dead end, but she ran the headline anyway," Patru told PJ Media in an email statement. "Strauss took a quote, divorced it from context, and then labeled Betsy and opponent of public education writ large. It's among the most dishonest reporting I've seen in 20 years."
Patru argued that DeVos does not push for school choice in "the thousands of school districts across the country where public schools are doing a great job." Rather, her "focus has always been on the hundreds of thousands of poor kids who, by no fault of their own, are forced to attend public schools that aren't working." In sum, "it's eminently possible to be both pro-public schools AND pro-choice."