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Betsy DeVos Watch: Deconstructing Trump and DeVos after the State of the Union address

February 5, 2020

On Tuesday night, President Trump gave his State of the Union address. He touched on several topics, including education in the US.

In addition, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, released a brief statement in response to what the president had to say. Actually, DeVos had nothing to really add to Trump’s comments, other than to continue using the same Neo-Liberal Education buzzwords and to plug the Education Freedom Scholars.

We offer this brief deconstruction of Trump’s comments and the Press Release sent out by Betsy DeVos from Tuesday, February 4, 2020.

The entire State of the Union address can be found here


In her Press Release, Betsy DeVos continues to use the political right’s playbook strategies, attacking government with the phrase: 

Every student, parent, and teacher should be excited by this bold agenda to free them from a government system that limits their success.

DeVos then points out that, “one in four eighth graders is functionally illiterate.” While this is true, there is no evidence that suggests that Charter Schools or other Neo-Liberal education models are working. In fact, there is plenty of documentation demonstrating how Charter Schools are failing, both in academic terms and in wasting money. See the report Still Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Results in a Pileup of Fraud and Waste

In her Press Release, DeVos ends with a push for Congress to pass the Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. The Education Freedom Scholarships would do what the Opportunity Scholarships are already doing, which is to allow people and corporations to donate to a designated scholarship granting organization (SGO) and be reimbursed in the form of a tax credit. With the DeVos plan, states would designate the eligible SGOs, but the federal government would fund the tax credit reimbursement, up to $5 billion total. Once again, public money (in the form of tax credits) would be used to support Charter and Private school systems.

Lastly, it is interesting to note that while both Trump and DeVos are critical of government involvement, they want Congress to pass the Education Freedom Scholarships, which means they want the federal government to be involved in how schools are funded. Apparently they have no problem with government intervention, especially when it promotes the Neo-Liberal Education model.



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