DeVos is setting a dangerous precedent

Betsy DeVos testifies before the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee confirmation hearing to be next Secretary of Education on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Jason Hertz

Staff Writer

 

I have nothing against willful ignorance, if said choices do not effect others in a negative fashion. But, you can imagine my disgust, when I learned of who the current Secretary of Education is and what her intentions are for American students I couldn’t help but become enraged. Recently, this past Friday, Betsy DeVos removed several on-campus policies dictating Title IX procedures directly from the Department of Education to colleges. These policies protected sexual assault victims by forcing a set of guidelines for the handling of such matters on schools. The policies were created under Obama to compel colleges to take sexual assault reports seriously, something that had often been ignored or swept under the rug on many campuses due to negative PR. Under the new rules universities can change their own standard of evidence. And since disciplinary action or expulsion is still on the table as an internal punishment, school decisions do not necessarily have legal implications either.

Many schools wanted this decision because the old standard meant that being accused of a sexual assault was an automatic red-flag where innocence was never assumed; which goes against the principle of innocent until proven guilty. DeVos has used this side of the argument to defend her decisions, but leaving the standard of evidence up to individual schools is frankly irresponsible. And while DeVos might speak openly about defending the presumed innocent, she refuses to comment on her party’s political agenda and how it relates to state-regulated education. DeVos is a republican, and has campaigned alongside Trump for the privatization of many public works, including education. I find these actions to be transparent and despicable. Using the defense of innocent children, and possible rapists, as a political smoke screen to help your fellow republicans pocket more of the money that flows through education is down-right evil, not to mention contradictory. The idea of “school choice” is simply a want for the government to hand over all regulation of the market to the businesses themselves. You must remember that universities are businesses too. While Trump pushes for a $20 billion federal voucher program to have the government give money to families to pay for school, DeVos forces programs like these for “school choice” rights. Otherwise known as the re-privatization of education as a business. Trump gives federal tax money to the schools directly this way, but if the schools are privately owned and have no government regulation then isn’t that just the government giving money to private businesses under the guise of helping children?

The Title IX changes are simply an unfortunate symptom of a greater disease. Betsy DeVos does not exist to help children. Her entire career is centered around helping her own family, and their rich friends, take from the already down-trodden American youth. Isn’t it bad enough that we come out of college tens of thousands of dollars in debt? Now we have to be afraid of being raped by our peers too? Government regulation is important Betsy DeVos.

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