Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos: States should consider letting teachers carry guns in classroom

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says that states and localities seeking to protect schools against shooters should consider allowing teachers to carry firearms in the classroom. Arming teachers “should be an option for states and communities to consider,” Ms. DeVos told CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” in an interview airing Sunday night. She acknowledged that some educators have neither the interest nor the training to carry firearms, “but for those who are capable, this is one solution that can and should be considered … every state and every community is going to address this issue in a different way,” she said. Her comments came after President Trump suggested states consider allowing highly trained school personnel to carry guns in the classroom in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead. The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House would release a plan Sunday recommending states allow concealed carry for school staffers and raise the gun-buying age for certain firearms. Nineteen states already allow firearms in K-12 schools as long as the owner has permission from school authorities, while another five states permit any concealed-carry holder to bring weapons to schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “There are a lot of states that are addressing these issues in very cohesive and coherent ways,” said Ms. DeVos. The education secretary’s stance pits her once again against teachers’ union officials, who have argued that increasing the number of firearms makes schools less safe and advocated for tougher gun laws. Ms. DeVos also stressed the importance of taking action on school safety. “There is a sense of urgency indeed,” she said.


French: Betsy DeVos’s Critics Rely on Junk Science and Sheer Malice

Honestly, even for a person who’s been hardened by decades of campus ideological and legal battles, it’s hard to believe how thoroughly unhinged, how intellectually bankrupt is the argument against protecting due process on campus. Yesterday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that the Trump administration would shortly begin a regulatory rulemaking process designed to protect college students from sexual assault while also protecting the fundamental constitutional rights of the accused. More precisely, DeVos signaled her intention to withdraw the Obama administration’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter that unilaterally and lawlessly required universities to adjudicate sexual-assault claims under a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard (the accused is responsible if there’s a 50.1 percent probability he committed the crime) but without protecting due process. Obama’s policy resulted in a kangaroo-court system where accused students often don’t have access to counsel, the ability to effectively cross-examine their accuser (indeed, the Obama admin specifically urged that accused students not be permitted to cross-examine accusers), or even access to all the evidence in the case. Judging from the Twitter reaction to DeVos’s remarks, you would have thought that she’d declared open season on young women on campus. Under the hashtag #StopBetsy, ideologues and celebrities declared that DeVos was taking the “next step on our path to authoritarianism.” Or, in the words of the reasonable non-hysterical folks at the Women’s March, she was “making campuses safer for rapists.” The makers of a deeply flawed campus-rape documentary called “The Hunting Ground” slammed DeVos, saying, “Her proposal should scare the hell out of every parent in this country with a college bound child — schools will become much more dangerous places for their children.” But what is this terrible proposal? While the details are yet to be revealed, from her remarks it’s clear that she wants to protect students from sexual assault and to protect students from kangaroo courts. In other words, she may well require schools to protect students’ ability to employ counsel, cross-examine witnesses, see the evidence against them, and try their cases before a truly impartial tribunal. This is basic stuff. It’s the essence of due process, and it’s unthinkable for any person facing such serious, state-mandated charges to face justice without these basic protections. So, what’s the objection? Why do some activists seemingly come unglued at the mere mention of “due process”? To put it simply, it’s because many of them believe and propagate a pile of junk science seasoned with a heaping helping of far-left ideology. This toxic combination causes them to believe the following fantastical story: That one in five women on campus will be sexually assaulted at some point in their college careers, that virtually no woman would lie or be mistaken in alleging a sexual assault, and that even the absence of evidence is somehow evidence of rape. In these circumstances, due process is at best a mere formality. At worst, it’s the rapist’s friend. But that story is wrong — terribly wrong — and it’s facilitating injustice on a national scale. First, the one-in-five statistic is based on seriously flawed studies that, among other things, improperly define sexual assault or base their findings on a low-response survey of two colleges. In fact, the authors of arguably the most influential source for the one-in-five statistic have explicitly said that it was “inappropriate” to use their survey as a “baseline” for campus rape. In 2014, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics released its own, more rigorous survey, and its results were far, far different. It found that the rate of rape and sexual assault was “higher for nonstudents than for students.” The annual rate of sexual assault for young women enrolled in college was 6.1 per 1,000, or less than 1 percent. Too high, but far from the extraordinary and shocking crisis of one-in-five, even when tallied over multiple years. But what about the notion that “women don’t lie about rape,” often memorialized in the #BelieveAllWomen hashtag — popularized by none other than Hillary Clinton herself? That’s based on flawed research as well.

Indeed..  To read the rest of this eye-opening, and excellent legal op/ed by attorney, and Army Reserve officer (Major), David French, click on the text above.  David was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.

DeVos dedicated to empowering local schools against federal bureaucracy

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos insists that everything she does at the department is aimed at getting the federal government out of local schools, making good on that populist campaign promise from President Trump while his big-ticket legislative goals remain mired in Congress. Whether it’s replacing Obama-era school dictates with flexible guidelines or boosting school choice programs in districts across the country, the federal footprint in education is shrinking, Mrs. DeVos said. Washington’s education establishment is not happy with the change of course. Teachers unions and liberal activists decry the retreat and accuse the Trump administration of leaving children and college students at the mercy of for-profit schools. But breaking apart the “government-run education monopoly,” as Mr. Trump described it during the presidential race, was precisely why he chose Mrs. DeVos. She is a longtime crusader for charter schools and voucher programs that allow federal funds to pay tuition at private and religious schools. “If my work in education over the last three decades has taught me anything, it’s that parents and local leaders — not Washington bureaucrats — know best. As secretary, everything I do is focused on empowering them and getting the federal government out of their way,” Mrs. DeVos said..

Excellent!  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.    🙂

Trump Directs DeVos to Enforce Local Control of Education

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that directed U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to review federal regulations that infringe upon state and local governments’ ability to enact education policy at the level closest to the American people. “The executive order I’m signing today is another critical step to restoring local control, which is so important,” Trump said in his remarks at the signing of the Education Federalism Executive Order. “This executive order directs Secretary DeVos to review current federal regulations and ensure that they don’t obstruct the ability of states, local governments, teachers, and most importantly, parents, to make the best decisions for their students and, in many cases, for their children.” The order states the education secretary “shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, rescind or revise” any regulations or guidance documents “that are identified…as inconsistent with statutory prohibitions.” The secretary has 300 days to perform the review of regulations. The President continued: ” Previous administrations have wrongfully forced states and schools to comply with federal whims and dictate what our kids are taught. But we know that local communities do it best and know it best. The time has come to empower parents and teachers to make the decisions that help their students achieve success. That’s what this executive order is all about. So important.” Present at the signing of the executive order were Vice President Mike Pence, DeVos, and Govs. Kay Ivey (R-AL), Terry Branstad (R-IA), Paul LePage (R-ME), Brian Sandoval (R-NV), Gary Herbert (R-UT), Matt Mead (R-WY). “As a former governor myself, I’ve always believed, as the President does, that education is a state and local function, and that decisions in education are best made by parents and teachers and local administrators,” Pence said. “The decisions over our children’s school should be made by parents and local administrators, not by politicians or unelected bureaucrats in a far, distant capital.” DeVos said the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was “a good step in this direction, giving flexibility to states to best meet the needs of their communities.” “We’re going to implement this law as Congress intended, not how the previous administration dictated,” the secretary added. “When we give decision-making power back to states and communities, students benefit. This executive order puts us on that track.” Grassroots parent activists and education think tanks that have studied ESSA, however, say the federal law – even as passed in “bipartisan” fashion by establishment members of Congress and signed into law immediately by former President Barack Obama – anchors states to the controversial Common Core or its “rebrands” and still requires states to obtain the approval of the federal government for its education plans. Quoting ESSA, American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins and Indiana parent activist Erin Tuttle wrote at The Pulse 2016: “Each State shall demonstrate that the challenging academic standards are aligned with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in the system of public higher education in the State and relevant State career and technical education standards.” “This is simply another way of saying states must have “college- and career-ready” standards,” the writers note. “And as made clear by the U.S. Department of Education’s own materials, “college- and career-ready” means Common Core.”

Betsy DeVos wins confirmation as education secretary as VP Pence casts historic vote

Flexing their slim majority, Republicans powered President Trump’s education secretary nominee through the Senate on Tuesday, with Vice President Mike Pence casting his first vote to break the tie and officially confirm Betsy DeVos. Democrats, urged on by their powerful backers in the teachers’ unions, had singled her out for particular scrutiny, calling her among the worst nominees in American history, and the worst of all Mr. Trump’s picks. They even mounted a round-the-clock vigil on the Senate floor, attacking her qualifications and saying the wealthy philanthropist’s commitment to parental choice in education would undermine the public school system. But most Republicans stuck together, rejecting the Democratic attacks and defending Mrs. DeVos as committed to getting children the best education possible, no matter what the setting. “The president deserves to have his Cabinet in place,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. Mrs. DeVos cleared on a 51-50 vote. Two Republicans — Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — defected to join Democrats in opposition. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the fact that Mr. Pence was needed to break a tie was “another glaring reminder of the unprecedented obstruction that Senate Democrats have engaged in throughout this process.”

Indeed..  Betsy’s confirmation earlier today is driving the education establishment, Democrat politicians, and the powerful teacher’s unions (like the NEA) absolutely nuts!  It’s a beautiful thing to see!

Unions bankrolling DeVos opposition

Three of the groups challenging the reform agenda of President-elect Donald Trump and his education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos received more than $2.6 million from teachers unions and their allies, according to federal labor filings. DeVos, a pioneer in the school choice and charter school movements over the last two decades, has received vocal opposition from Democrats and some of the country’s most powerful unions. The National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and AFL-CIO, which serves as an umbrella group for dozens of unions including the AFT, have all called on the Senate to reject the nomination. They have also pumped millions of dollars into think tanks and activist groups that have supplied Democrats with intellectual ammunition to oppose her. DeVos, the head of the American Federation for Children, has come under scrutiny from a number of liberal groups and media outlets, along with unions. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Center for American Progress (CAP) have each released reports critical of charter schools since President-elect Donald Trump announced the nomination in November.

..which is all the more reason to support her!  When rabid Dems and union thugs are spending millions to derail such a nomination, that’s reason enough to rally behind Betsy!  We hope she is confirmed swiftly, and gets to work soon to reform this corrupt federal agency.  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Analysis: The Unconscionable Assault on Betsy DeVos

The commentariat has railed against Trumpian incivility, nastiness, and immoderation. It’s striking, though, in how fickle a manner these standards are applied. For instance, last month the president-elect nominated Michigan philanthropist and school reformer Betsy DeVos to serve as U.S. secretary of education; the response has been remarkable, and not in a good way. (Full disclosure: DeVos is on the board of the American Enterprise Institute, where I’m employed as a scholar.) DeVos has served as board chair for the Alliance for School Choice, as head of All Children Matter (a political-action committee for school-choice advocates), and as a board member of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. She has previously served as Republican National committeewoman for Michigan and as chair of the state’s GOP. All in all, she’s a pretty conventional choice. Her nomination was termed a “pretty mainstream pick” by education pundit Andy Rotherham, a former special assistant in Bill Clinton’s White House. That’s what makes the nasty and strikingly personal response to DeVos’s nomination so bizarre. Within 72 hours of her nomination, the New York Times ran an op-ed by Tulane professor Doug Harris that concluded, “The DeVos nomination is a triumph of ideology over evidence that should worry anyone who wants to improve results for children.” The same day, Salon’s Matthew Rozsa wrote that DeVos “is a woman who never went to public school, nor sent her children to public school, nor worked for public schools. She does, however, come from a wealthy family that has donated millions to the Republican party. And she would be terrible for public education in this country.” Within days of DeVos’s nomination, the Washington Post ran an op-ed by Columbia University professor Aaron Pallas that included this: “I’ve been joking that Ben Carson’s – Trump’s pick to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – primary qualification is that he grew up in a house. But Betsy DeVos attended private schools and sent her children to them. Her qualification to be Secretary of Education? She doesn’t even have that going for her.” In a December New Yorker story titled “Betsy DeVos and the Plan to Break Public Schools,” columnist Rebecca Mead lamented that DeVos graduated from Holland Christian High School, “which characterizes its mission thus: ‘to equip minds and nurture hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ.’” The horror of it all. Apparently, the 5.4 million students enrolled in 33,000 private schools have no standing at the U.S. Department of Education, parents (like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) who send their children to private schools have no standing in education policy, and graduates from religious schools are to be regarded with suspicion. To appreciate fully the tenor of the response to DeVos, one should know that the national education debate usually proceeds with a modicum of civility. A year ago, when President Obama nominated former New York commissioner of education John King to be secretary of education, King was greeted courteously and approved rapidly by the Republican Senate — despite King’s troubled tenure in New York, one that featured a disastrous rollout of the Common Core. In fact, King’s warm reception followed seven years of troubling activity at the Obama Department of Education itself. It’s worth recalling, also, how Arne Duncan, Obama’s first secretary of education, was greeted when nominated in 2008. Duncan, who had never taught, had served for seven years as superintendent of schools in Chicago — where he presided over some of the nation’s highest-paid teachers, mediocre student outcomes, and a massively underfunded pension fund. As a basketball-playing buddy of Obama’s, Duncan could have been attacked as nothing more than a Chicago crony. Instead, the response to Duncan was glowing. In the New York Times, reporter Sam Dillon wrote: “Arne Duncan, the Chicago schools superintendent known for taking tough steps to improve schools while maintaining respectful relations with teachers and their unions, is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as secretary of education.” The Wall Street Journal’s Collin Levy termed Duncan “the CEO of the Chicago public schools and the ultimate diplomat.” Levy wrote: “Fans also note that he helped raise the cap on charter schools to 30 from 15. . . . He’s known for a flexibility that allows him to float between the traditional Democratic strongholds and the new wave of reformers in the party.” The results on Duncan and King’s watch have been unimpressive. Duncan’s overreach aggravated partisan distrust and eventually prompted bipartisan congressal majorities to clip the Department’s wings in the Every Student Succeeds Act. Duncan’s meddling helped make the Common Core into a divisive fiasco. Last year, the National Assessment of Educational Progress recorded widespread declines in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math following flat 2013 results, marking a disheartening downturn after long years of steady gains. This month, the Program for International Student Assessment reported that U.S. performance has declined steadily since 2009 in reading, math, and science — after a decade of rising scores. At a minimum, this record should counsel some humility on the part of those pundits so eager to preemptively declare DeVos a menacing ideologue. Qualms about any appointee are understandable enough, but a Washington outsider and longtime crusader for educational improvement would seem a timely choice with more than a little appeal. You’d think that civil, moderate voices might allow for that possibility. Evidently not. – Frederick M. Hess is the director of education-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute