There has been a lot of backlash from the Left on President Trump’s cabinet selections. Most notably, people are losing their minds over the Education Secretary pick Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and school choice advocate.
Most of my friends have chosen the fact that she hasn’t had any experience in the public education system as the foremost reason to oppose her nomination. This argument is typically followed by, “I mean are you serious?!?” and a few devilish emojis. The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah was hung up on DeVos’s in ability to articulate the distinction between proficiency and growth to the satisfaction of an inarticulate Senator Franken. Noah asked, “How do you put this person in charge of America’s education?” And Bernie Sanders honed in on the fact that DeVos had made millions of dollars in donations to Republican candidates as a disqualifier. These are all great criticisms for soundbite culture, but they all have the slight problem of being ignorantly fallacious.
This Isn’t the Spoils System
First of all, Bernie just doesn’t get it. Like his millionth economically illiterate tweet, he tried to throw out the gotcha question, “how much have you donated to the Republican party?” and may have raised an eyebrow or two from the lemmings that adore him. But he made it seem like Betsy DeVos is trying to get this cushy government job with all these benefits and the only way to do that was to contribute to campaigns.
This may be shocking, but the billionaire Betsy DeVos doesn’t need a job, or rather, she needs a job like Bernie Sanders needs another house. This isn’t a favor to her. And she’s definitely not doing it for the ridiculous treatment she’s receiving from the media and the senators. As her unpolished answers demonstrate at her hearing, Betsy DeVos is not a politician. She’s where she is because she has a lifelong interest in improving education in America.
Experience Versus Establishment
Despite what people may think, you don’t need experience in a particular organization in order to run it. In fact, with regard to government education, a system so ripe with waste, inefficiency, and corruption, it should be seen as a plus.
I liken it to medicine: we don’t require a surgeon to have cancer before they go in and cut a tumor out of our body. Likewise, we shouldn’t require our Education Secretary to have the cancer of a government education in order to fix it for the rest of the country.
Contrary to what many may think, education isn’t synonymous with government, in fact it may be antithetical to it. News flash: People can be educated outside of the government and it just so happens that for the most part, they are educated much better outside than from within the system.
As Senator Joe Lieberman said, “I know that some people are questioning her qualifications to be secretary of education, and too many of those questions seem to me to be based on the fact that she doesn’t come from within the education establishment. But honestly I believe that today, that’s one of the most important qualifications you could have for this job.”
Purpose of the Position
Trevor Noah’s response, “How do you put this person in charge of America’s education?” is a perfect representation of everything wrong with a socialist mentality. He thinks that the Secretary of Education is “in charge of America’s education,” and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Parents and teachers are in charge of America’s (and everyone else’s) education. The position that DeVos is being “tested for” is a bureaucratic role—a role that quite frankly is unconstitutional and unnecessary.
Socialists often succumb to this importance fallacy assuming that if something is important (as education is) that it must be ensured by government. The paradoxical result, however, is that once government enters the arena to ensure a service, it inextricably changes the playing field to the detriment of all the players, and reduces availability. We see this across the board from health care to transportation and, in Venezuela’s case, toilet paper.
What all these people are really afraid of (even though they may not be cognizant of it) is that in DeVos we have a true outsider who isn’t falling for their economic fallacies. We have someone who sees that the goal in this whole system is the education of our children—not the preservation of the education-industrial complex.