The United States Senate Education Committee has approved President Trump’s pick for the secretary of education. Betsy DeVos of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is known for her passion for expanding school choice, especially where schools are lagging in reading and math scores.
CBS Detroit reported that Michigan Charter School Association president Dan Quisenberry applauded the choice of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education, saying that it was an “inspired choice.” Even though DeVos has been accused of favoritism toward charter schools, Quisenberry suggested that Betsy is still an excellent choice for the role.
“I think (her opinion of charters is) an unfair criticism. Let’s give her a chance because she is a supporter of public education, and she’s proven that in Grand Rapids — charter schools are public schools. […] She’ll bring a parent’s point of view, which I think is important. She thinks kids are the focus, not institutions. She’s going to look for performance and success.”
DeVos has indeed been highly influential and instrumental in the development of Michigan schools, whether for good or bad. However, with her up for secretary of education, many are concerned — Democrats specifically — that she is not a suitable candidate. Such concerns stem from debates over her preference of privatization initiatives and her seeming lack of knowledge regarding civil right laws, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Amidst criticism, Betsy — who comes from the Michigan-based billionaire DeVos family — has worked hard to ensure the public (as well as education and government officials) that she will work hard to better the situation of each individual student. She particularly noted her passion for helping LGBTQ students who suffer from bullying, Fox 6 reported. Yet, her statement in defense of them echoes one that Vanita Gupta, the head of Obama’s Civil Rights Division, said in May of 2016.
“‘Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment where they can learn, thrive, and grow,’ DeVos writes. Gupta was credited with nearly the same quotes in a May 2016 press release on ensuring the civil rights of transgender students. ‘Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment that allows them to thrive and grow,’ Gupta wrote.”
While Betsy has also been accused on account of various other attributes or educational ties, DeVos was particularly criticized on Tuesday after supposed plagiarism allegations.
The Trump Administration has not yet responded to these allegations, but those opposing DeVos are working hard to give proof of her guilt. In her written response to questions posited by various senators, it appears that Betsy DeVos used statements from other sources without giving due credit. Among these other sources, the Chicago Tribune also noted, were officials from the Obama Administration.
Fox 59 said in DeVos’s defense that over 1,000 questions were answered in her name, which means that there is a likelihood that some staffers and aids helped answer them.
The allegations were first posed by the Washington Post, the new source further explained. Betsy DeVos is not the first Trump Administration pick to fall under plagiarism accusations. However, the White House’s lack of response seems to be generating distrust in media sources and officials, who are waiting for a clear answer. Or, at least, one that will help to explain the situation better. Until then, the nation is reeling because of unanswered questions and serious accusations.
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