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DeVos might put education at risk

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While a good chunk of the student population at UW Oshkosh is here to get their degree and go into the working world, there are some of us who don’t necessarily have that same mentality.

Some students are very active on campus, while others are bystanders, which is a bit of a problem. But besides the issues with student involvement on campus, the big issue revolving around lack of student political involvement is much more important.

The main thing to focus on in this is the recent debate of the newest U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. DeVos was a very controversial pick from President Donald Trump, causing an uproar on social media and cries from teachers and parents alike for Congress to reject her nomination.

DeVos could potentially change education for better or for worse, and looking at this from different perspectives allows students to make their own educated political stances. Furthermore, this affects students’ education, which is something students should care about.

My first point is the claim to fame DeVos currently has, which is that she is not qualified for this position whatsoever. For those of you who don’t know who DeVos is, she is a businesswoman and an avid supporter for the Republican Party. Her nomination was most likely picked because of her prestige within the GOP, not necessarily her qualifications.

During her trial when Congress asked her questions in regards to her position, a majority of people were disappointed and almost appalled with her answers, which she often completely avoided the question.

The gist of it is DeVos has no experience working in, attending or even sending her children through public schools, and she doesn’t know how to handle such a large program. Which is true, for the most part. DeVos is the landmark for conservative viewpoints with her arguments and ideals reflecting as such.

U.S. News & World Report said DeVos wants to focus more on implementing religious education in schools and encourages the view that intelligent design should be taught in schools (fancy talk for saying that God created everything and science isn’t really valid in explaining things). For public schools, this completely reshapes the curriculum as we know it. Coming from a Catholic school, I think implementing a religious-based curriculum does nothing in shaping people’s minds besides forcing you to think one linear way.

According to USA Today, DeVos doesn’t necessarily support affordable tuition, which is one of the biggest issues for U.S. students today.Furthermore, she doesn’t know how to handle the multi-million dollar student loans programs that help young adults afford college. In her trial, a congressman asked if she’s ever run a program of this nature or if she has ever personally dealt with loans and grants before, in which she said no to all of them.

As a woman, what shook me most about DeVos was her avoidance of the topic of sexual assault on college campuses. Considering that–and I know you’ve all heard this mantra–one in five women will be sexually assaulted on campus and only five percent of survivors will report anything, I think this issue needs to be highlighted a lot more than avoiding a simple “yes” or “no” question.

Because of these reasons, I do not think Betsy DeVos is a great or safe choice for the future of public school systems, especially colleges.

My second point comes from those who believe she is credible. Obviously, she was picked by Trump for a reason. Whatever those reasons truly are is beyond me, but I would assume that it was her contributions to the GOP and other philanthropic endeavors.

DeVos supports returning the education system to the states, according to Fox News. I think it would be a fair idea for states to be able to control how they have their curriculum, with a foundation created by the federal level of government. Additionally, Fox notes that DeVos supports charter schools, which will help minorities and financially unable students to attend school. She has hope for the future of students; she isn’t as heartless as some people want to make her out to be. These reasons I agree with.

To sum up everything, DeVos has many positive and negative ideas regarding higher education. She will be able to do some things at a federal level for education that can be good or bad, such as reshaping education towards religion rather than science or returning education to a state level.

DeVos will have a whole bunch of people to work with and advise her, so I’m sure things won’t be as bad as they seem. One of my biggest concerns regarding DeVos is her avoidance of the topic of sexual assault on college campuses. Moving forward, I would like to see her be more proactive and ensure the safety and quality of campuses. This is only the beginning of her journey, so we all have to keep an open mind.

What I call for you as students to do is to really be aware of this current situation. Think of the future of education, as some of you will be seeing changes in the near future or even throughout your college career. For professors and teachers, this could be the dramatic difference in how you teach your curriculum. This controversial pick has caused a conversation in America about how we want to see education develop. Regardless of political affiliation, it is up to us as students to decide the future of American education. It starts with becoming more aware of our political climate.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
DeVos might put education at risk