Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Why I Oppose Betsy DeVos's Nomination

If you haven't yet, you should read this letter from hundreds of educational researchers opposing Betsy DeVos's nomination as Secretary of Education.

I strongly believe that Professors should largely refrain from political advocacy because I believe it interferes with our ability to teach -- I want my students to make up their own mind about policy based on research evidence without knowing whether I have a personal preference or what it is.

I signed (and played an exceedingly small role in writing) the letter, though, because I don't think this is truly a matter of politics or policy. I don't oppose Betsy DeVos on ideological grounds. Our new President is going to nominate somebody with a similar ideology regardless of whether she's approved anyway. I signed the letter largely because she's proven that she's not qualified. Her knowledge (or lack thereof) of federal education policy in her Senate hearing was, frankly, embarrassing.

We will never agree on ideology, but we should all agree that we want the best and brightest leading our schools. The current administration can find many better options than Betsy DeVos.