The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

QU concerned with possibilty of DeVos’ appointment

Victoria Pickering
Upper Senate Park, January 29, 2017

The recent nomination of Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education has led to backlash across the country, including at Quinnipiac University.

Professors and faculty at Quinnipiac University are surprised by the comments and overall reputation Betsy DeVos has made for herself, and are worried it may impact their field and the future teachers they have as students.

“At the QU School of Education, we are wholeheartedly committed to social justice education,” Professor Christina Pavlak of the Education Department said.

DeVos is a Republican education activist, has served as Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan, and board member for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, according to U.S. News.

DeVos is also known to advocate for school choice, which explores schooling options aside from public school systems, and school voucher systems in which students and their families can be chosen to have their schooling funded by the government.

Pavlak finds DeVos’s support of school choice, vouchers and privatization of schools to be a cause for concern among Americans and others in her field of expertise.

”It’s devastating — the fact that someone so inexperienced, so clearly unfamiliar with and not in support of public schools and educational policy more generally would even be nominated is deeply troubling” Pavlak said.

Interim Dean of the School of Education Anne Dichele is also concerned with President Donald Trump’s choice of Secretary of Education.

“It is difficult to predict the outcome if DeVos is chosen for Secretary of Education. She has neither teaching nor administrative experience,” Dichele said.

Dichele is worried that DeVos being Secretary of Education will not allow for public school systems to be funded in the way they should be.

Prior to the Nov. 8 election, DeVos supported Republican candidate Marco Rubio and believed President Trump was not representative of the Republican Party. Despite this, Trump announced on Nov. 23 that Betsy DeVos would be his choice for Secretary of Education.

Accordings to the Washington Post, teachers unions criticize President Trump’s selection due to Devos’s lack of support for public school systems.

“Personally, I am very much against a Secretary of Edu   cation with the limited knowledge or experience in relation to public education that Betsy DeVos has shown throughout the hearings,” Dichele said. “Any person who does not know that IDEA [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] is a federal law should not be in charge of the federal department that oversees that law. That is simply ludicrous.”

Sophomore Caroline McTague has been following the DeVos decision closely, and is also concerned with the possibility of her being appointed Secretary of Education.

“I just don’t understand how someone so unqualified and inexperienced can even be considered a little for such an important position,” McTague said. “As a future teacher, it’s just not the kind of person I want in any position of control for my field.”

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is overseeing DeVos’ confirmation hearing. The committee is led by Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee.

According to the Washington Post, during the hearings DeVos skirted around the question of whether or not states should reinforce the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which provides free public education to disabled children.

Sophomore Victoria De La Rosa is particularly concerned with DeVos’s comments regarding education for children with disabilities.

“I find it very concerning that she is the choice of the position and could be very disheartening to a community that already deals with great difficulty and challenges,” De La Rosa said.

De La Rosa feels her family will be personally impacted if DeVos does not defend the IDEA Law, since she has a brother who is in school because of it.

“Treatment and education of those with disabilities have the possibility of becoming endangered and destroying the lives of millions of children and families everywhere” De La Rosa said.

In addition to her comments on the IDEA law and school privatization, DeVos refused to give a definitive answer when Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania questioned her on whether or not she would continue to seek justice for college campus assaults and further improve the laws in place that makes schools prosecute the accused.

According to the Washington Post, Democratic senators on this committee have requested a second confirmation hearing on DeVos, insisting that they have not had enough time to ask all of the questions they wanted to ask, but were denied this second hearing.

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