The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

Western Courier

Trump and DeVos show their inexperience

Jason Adams

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I have tried to stay away from politics as long as I could but with a new administration, it’s pretty hard to do. One of the most irritating things is to watch someone who thinks they know how to do something when, in fact, they have no clue. This becomes infuriating when they are running our country and influencing our education system and twice as infuriating when it’s two different people. I’m writing of course about President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

As a college student, DeVos is probably driving me nuts the most so I’ll start with her. Her appointment vote in the Senate was actually tied at 50-50, and since Vice President Mike Pence is technically President of the Senate, he broke the tie. He obviously said yes. But even during her hearing, there were questions of how suitable she was for this job, starting with her background.

DeVos went to both a private high school and a private college where she earned a degree in business administration and political science. So far, she has no connections to public education. She then became a chairwoman of several religious groups such as the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Alliance for School Choice. She married a wealthy billionaire businessman, Dick DeVos, the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. Her only connection to education was her work with schools in Michigan where she supported privatizing schools and opening charter schools.

Writing as a pretty good student who went to all public schools, this is a little concerning. She has no experience with public education and it showed during her Senate hearings. She said it would be smart to have firearms at schools because of the “danger of grizzly bears.” First off, I’m sure not even a grizzly bear wants to get near a school if she’s in charge of it. Secondly, where is there a danger of bears in Michigan? Maybe the Chicago Bears but they haven’t really been a danger to anyone lately. Back to the point, the more DeVos says in conferences and to reporters, the more people are starting to feel like she may not be up for the job.

DeVos certainly has no idea what it is like for public education teachers. She jokingly posted on social media asking about where to find the pencils to start her job. She later faced a barrage of critical posts from both teachers and students of public education who pointed out that, as reported by Time Magazine, ABC News and many other outlets, many teachers pay for their own classroom supplies. The Department of Education’s Twitter account also incorrectly spelled civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois as “W.E.B. Debois” in a post promoting Black History Month. A relatively small blunder, but critics, like Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post, have pointed out that and other spelling mistakes. Overall, she has just drawn more criticism than praise and was obviously not the best choice for that office. We’ll see what the future holds with her.

And now for a quick Trump update: Trump found out that executive orders had limits. Unlike dictators or Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter universe, you can’t just institute laws and policies like travel and refugee bans as a president whenever you feel necessary. Executive orders of this nature are meant for wartime or when congress can’t assemble in time, which currently isn’t true in either of these cases. Judges and courts have already started questioning and declaring some of the orders unconstitutional with probably the rest to follow. President Trump has voiced his frustration on Twitter about these judges who are only doing their jobs. This week’s lesson for Trump as his administration grows and learns more about government: checks and balances.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Trump and DeVos show their inexperience