Why does DeVos have power to ‘destroy’ public schools, anyway?
Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. secretary of education means the end of public schools as we know them, her critics have charged. There was enough concern about that among senators that 50 of them voted against her. For the first time in history, a tie vote over a Cabinet nominee had to be broken by the vice president.
It is true that DeVos is a proponent of school choice. She believes public money ought to be made available to private charter schools to give students and parents options.
Charter schools indeed can be a good alternative to public schools that are failing — and big cities are full of them. Just saying no to the idea, as some liberals and the education establishment prefer, makes no sense.
At the same time, writing charter schools what amounts to a blank check is unreasonable, too. One need look no further than Ohio to understand the perils of publicly funding private schools without demanding accountability.
But wait a moment. It ought to be unsettling to many people to hear members of the U.S. Senate worrying aloud about the damage DeVos allegedly will do to public schools.
Senators, along with members of the House of Representatives, write the law on how the federal government handles education, after all.
A bigger issue than DeVos needs to be dealt with. It is whether Congress has given too much power over public schools to bureaucrats in the Department of Education.