Why you shouldn’t skip school to protest Betsy Devos

Elena Hochheiser, Writer

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Betsy Devos was confirmed today as Secretary of Education in the United States’ Department of Education. Like Donald Trump, she has had no experience working in the government, and has also never worked in a public school. I’m her home state of Michigan, she worked to promote school choice and private school waivers, which she claimed would make it possible for more students to get a quality education. However, when those topics are more clearly investigated, it becomes clear– both would have the greatest impact on middle class and upper-middle class students in the public schools that can or can almost afford a private school tuition or other costs that would be associated with switching schools. She also highly supports charter schools, which can be very good fits for students with special learning needs or a specific environment, but do not fit the needs of a majority of American students and often do not work to accommodate poorer students or students that they do not want attending their school. Devos has donated to anti-LGBT groups and her family has given over $5.3 million to the campaigns of numerous Republican senators, all of

whom voted for her to become secretary today.


So now, you may ask, why am I telling you this? Today as I got home, I saw notifications on Instagram and Snapchat and got texts telling kids to skip school and go to a 7:30 a.m. rally in Market Square to protest Devos’s confirmation. Although it may seem that by skipping the first part of the school day and attending a peaceful protest you’re being an activist and fighting for the cause you believe in, you’re not. Betsy Devos wants to take funding away from the public schools and divert it to charter schools and private school waivers. She wants to loosen federal standards in education so that we as students are not guaranteed an education of a specific caliber or level. All in all, she wants to make it so that there are less quality public schools, and that the ones that do remain cannot do a very good job in educating their students. It was shown in this past election that the majority of educated voters voted democratic, while the majority of uneducated voters voted republican. By skipping school to protest Devos, you’re not only missing out on your education, but you’re helping send the message that you don’t care about your school and what it teaches you. You’re showing that the public education system doesn’t have the power to keep you in school. You’re sending the message a message that you don’t want to send. By skipping school, you’re weakening the public schools and doing exactly what Betsy Devos wants you to.


So instead, tomorrow you can do something else. Come to school on time and work to progress your education. Write a letter or send an email to your senators. Make sure that you know what you’re trying to change and understand the message you’re trying to send, rather than protesting against something that’s already happened and isn’t going to change. This isn’t meaning to say that I’m pro-Devos, because I’m not. But keep in mind that she’s already been confirmed, and the most influential thing you can do now is support your public schools.

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