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Betsy DeVos Watch: Listening to CEOs, Workforce Development and Student Loans

April 13, 2017

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos joined President Trump and several other cabinet members for a Strategy and Policy Forum listening session with 17 CEOs from major corporations.

Corporations like Walmart, IBM, General Motors, PepsiCo and Boeing were present to offer their suggestions on how to further privatize the country. Each of the cabinet members met with specific CEOs and Betsy DeVos spent her time with Ginni Rometty of IBM; Jack Welch, formerly of GE and Toby Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic.

According to a statement released by DeVos, she stated:

“Today’s event was a great opportunity to listen and learn from some of America’s best innovators and job-creators. I look forward to collaborating with them on how we can maintain our nation’s global competitiveness.” 

Speaking as a member of the Capitalist Class, DeVos was in her element during the “listening session,” feeling right at home with public-private partnership dynamics. In her statement from April 11, DeVos also said:

By encouraging public-private partnerships, we can help connect students with prospective employers and provide those students with the necessary skills to find a good-paying job in their communities.”

For members of the Capitalist Class, education is primarily about talent creation and making sure that schools are producing new workers and managers for the business community. Education is not seen as a form of liberation, development of critical thinking skills or as a mechanism to further explore our humanity. The Strategy and Policy Forum listening session with the 17 CEOs is just one illustration of the importance of education as a form of workforce development.

Further Punishment for those with Student Loans

On Tuesday, Betsy DeVos reversed some Obama administration policies on student debt and student loans, policies that were not all that beneficial those those with student loans.

DeVos stated, “We must create a student loan servicing environment that provides the highest quality customer service and increases accountability and transparency for all borrowers, while also limiting the cost to taxpayers.” 

Such a statement further demonstrates Education Secretary DeVos’ belief that the market should be the driving factor when it comes to education. 

Resistance Report noted that, “The new rule will affect approximately 4 million students and graduates whose loans are in default, collectively owing more than $67 billion. The affected students make up about 11 percent of the estimated 44 million Americans who have student debt, according to data from the Federal Reserve. And unlike credit card debt, student debt can’t be discharged through bankruptcy, thanks to laws passed in the 1970s.

These changes to the student loan policy will most likely result in more students defaulting on their loans, but it will certainly result in more and more people being deeply limited in what they can be involved in, since having 10 – 30 year student loan payments provides little incentive for people to be involved in challenging systems of power that have imposed these loans on them in the first place.

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