By Philip Drucker
" Kids need to go back to school." -Betsy DeVos
Seems like a simple enough statement. In most times, there would be little to no disagreement regarding the benefits, both educationally and socially speaking why children belong in the class at their desks and ready to tackle the lessons for the day. Problem is, we are not in normal times. Classroom attendance and instruction in the time of Covid-19 requires a reality check.
It requires someone who understands the potential harm to children, serious harm, as in infection, hospitalization and yes, even death to children, parents, teachers, administrators and workers across America who make up, each in their own way, a unique and necessary part of what we call the learning process.
It requires research, analysis and implementation of the best ways to ensure our progeny are learning in a safe and sane environment free from threat that any day in the classroom may be their last. With anything less being, to put it mildly, unacceptable.
It requires someone in a position of authority, say Secretary of Education, to provide whatever funds are necessary to mandate, co-ordinate, and deliver in a timely fashion, preventative measures we know will help keep exposure and potential harm to a bare minimum.
Social distancing, masks, smaller classrooms, hybrid programs mixing in-person and online learning platforms when appropriate. Updated ventilation and air conditioning systems if it will help. We know washing your hands and keeping good hygiene practices are not enough. Well, we know that, but, does Betsy? The answer is no. Or, even worse, if she does know she doesn't care. She just wants YOUR sons and your daughters, your grandchildren back in school ASAP and that means with as little "red-tape" as possible. And I do mean little, as in none.
Her position on public education is no mystery. She hates it. That is why she is not an actual educational administrator. She has never studied, and indeed, has no degree or practical experience involving the proper mission and operations of a school system dedicated to bringing the most instruction to the most students. Basically, whoever wants it.
Her position on the basic public school curriculum and agenda to provide a rounded learning experience is not hidden. She hates it. To wit, she has never taught in a classroom, has no practical experience whatsoever in education except a failed string of so-called "charter" schools, all of which failed. If schools went bankrupt, starting to see the picture?
If your next thought was Betsy is only where she is today because she was born rich, married richer and made the right connections (campaign donations) you are on the right track. Unfortunately, there is more and none of it is good news for those who believe in the promise of educating the next generation.
But her recent inexplicable stance on returning elementary schools age children and above with the least assurance of safety to what amounts to, if she gets her way, the front lines of a battlefield filled with chemical weapons, does furnish insight into the psyche of a woman we should all be afraid of and here's why.
Betsy is a one trick pony. Her one trick? Choice. Through a series of odd Supreme Court cases, despite the clear Constitutional mandate demanding the separation of Church and State (including schools) the Court has found a loophole that Betsy has burrowed into like a worm into a rotten apple. It seems if school vouchers are given directly to parents, they can "choose" to use them for public or private, including religious institutions of learning. Hence, the "choice" being in the hands of the parents and not as a product of unwarranted government intervention into the education of their children.
This, Betsy loves. Not just for one reason, but for two. Firstly, when Betsy opens a "charter" school, promising a higher level and learning experience, usually with a little religion thrown in there, you know, prayer in school, Bible studies, these days, maybe even a little Prosperity Gospel, who get the money? Why, she does. Bingo number one. Ca$h money for Betsy. And when it comes from tax payer dollars, well, is there a sweeter apple that could fall from the American apple pie tree? You could ask the serpent, but I doubt it. Then it gets worse. Much worse.
Since we deal in plain speak around these parts, let me give it to your str8-up with no chaser. Betsy is a religious fanatic whose one mission in life is to explain why me? Meaning, why hast thou bestowed upon me immeasurable wealth and privilege when in reality I have done virtually nothing to deserve this fate and in fact, judging from lack of any discernible contribution to society should be living in a Michigan trailer park sunbathing during the day on some badly work pool furniture sipping on warm ginger ale. Did I mention married to a proud member of the "people's" militia?
But she's not. Why? There can be only three reasons. Because her God favors, the rich, possibly the white, and most clearly the most pious among us. So she remains pious by trying to make money converting as many children as she can to the word of a greedy, misguided savior who commands his followers to kill children. Tell me I'm wrong. Well then, let me continue.
One of the main differences between myself and many of my followers is my belief in a Supreme Being. I find the thought, inspirational, comforting and highly logical. I do not believe in the Prosperity Gospel or any such nonsense. I believe we are given the greatest gift of free will, to be used when we are confronted, with challenges, tests, discomfort or pleasure.
We will not always get it right, but to try, and try again following his words and the deeds he chose to reveal to us, this is to do the work of the divine. To do the right thing, not because it benefits us personally, but because it is what He (sorry, I'm old school) would want us to to. To emulate Him. This to me is what it means to live in a state of grace, or in my opinion more correctly be by His side always, in this life and the next. These are the true gifts of the holy, the believers, and the devout.
Betsy has eyes, but she cannot see. She has a heart, but cannot hear the crying of children. She has a soul, but it offers no sympathy, empathy moral compass or guidance towards those who she professes to serve and yes, love.
In short, she will continue to live her life, believing public schools are the work of the devil, democrats are Godless creatures sent to plague the work of angels, and, here's the scary part, for not letting little things like a deadly virus decimate a potentially large number of our student population, get in her way of bringing the gospel as warped as her version is, back into the schools.
If along the way, despite the Covid-19 risk of "collateral damage" among the obviously cursed infidel heathens, if even one soul is "saved" she will have for all intents and purposes bought and paid in the lives of the innocent, her ticket to the high school prom in heaven I bet she never attended while here on Earth. The jilted by life blind to reality teen prom queen who never got over it is large and in charge of your children's future. Will they have a prom to go to? God knows, but right now, He's not telling.