While outrages of the Trump administration make headlines, members of his cabinet are continuing with their nefarious activities to promote right-wing agenda items.
For example Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been flying under the radar lately, but that doesn’t mean she has not been busily trying to destroy America’s public education system.
DeVos is famous for wasting taxpayer dollars, and it is estimated that providing her security costs nearly $8 million per year.
But with a new Congress taking power in January, DeVos’s activities are getting increased scrutiny from House Democrats.
Here are some of her top initiatives:
- Rolling back regulation of for-profit colleges,
- Stalling the forgiveness of student loans and
- Rewriting rules for the treatment of campus sexual assault.
Now it comes out that in addition to those items she is looking to have a great impact on American education by promoting the agenda of the right-wing Koch Brothers.
Recently DeVos and her high-priced security detail paid a secret visit to Koch Industries headquarter in Wichita, Kansas. The cabinet member flew in and out without telling local public officials or the media.
The reason for DeVos’s taxpayer-funded trip was to meet with a select group of students from Youth Entrepreneurs, which is a non-profit group founded by Charles and Liz Koch.
“The official mission of Youth Entrepreneurs is to provide kids with ‘business and entrepreneurial education and experiences that help them prosper and become contributing members of society.’ The underlying goal of the program, however, is to impart Koch’s radical free-market ideology to teenagers.”
What DeVos likes is that Youth Entrepreneurs provides high schools with a curriculum designed to indoctrinate students in the blessings of unfettered capitalism and libertarian ideology.
The group provides high schools with lesson plans and classroom materials to teach students about the following right-wing beliefs:
- The minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth.
- Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper.
- Public assistance harms the poor.
- Government is the enemy of liberty.
“Charles Koch had a hands-on role in the design of the high school curriculum,” according to the HuffPost. “The goal … was to turn young people into ‘liberty-advancing agents’ before they went to college, where they might learn ‘harmful’ liberal ideas.”
DeVos’s trip to Kansas fit a typical pattern for the Education Secretary. Since taking office she has been visiting “select” education programs that support her campaign for “market-based education reform.”
Her ultimate goal is the privatization of public schools.
On another recent trip DeVos went to New Orleans to visit two charter schools and praise the district for being “a great example of what can be if people embrace change.”
The schools were selected to support her propaganda supporting “market-based reform,” the ideology that remade New Orleans schools after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
According to one teacher, “what DeVos really illustrated by her visits to these New Orleans schools isn’t how reform produces what works but how reform creates incredible racial inequity.”
The rhetoric DeVos uses in her propaganda campaign for market-based education reform is reflected in the policies promoted within the entire U.S. Department of Education.
Recently the agency awarded $400 million in federal grants to expand and support charter schools across the country.
Most of DeVos’s actions have a lack of transparency. This leaves education activists with many questions and much suspicion that her purpose in office is to take as much public money as possible and put it in the hands of private interests.
And she justifies her actions by saying that she is only implementing “much needed reforms.”
But in January there will be a Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives, and they plan to begin investigations into DeVos’s department.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.