She’s not just an idiot, she’s a dangerous idiot
Congressional hearings confirming Trump’s nominees for various cabinet positions have begun, and boy, are they a hoot so far. We’ve never sat down and watched these in previous years, but this time you need to grab the popcorn and a good friend and get ready for some terror and laughter but mostly terrified laughter.
Here are just four of the many things that Trump’s nominee for secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, was confused about at her hearing:
1.Whether or not to enforce the law regarding sexual assault on college campuses
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania asked DeVos if she would support the current law regarding sexual assault on campuses in opposition to an organization called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) which wishes to change it so that victims would be forced to report their assaults to police departments and the standard of evidence would be raised. DeVos’s answer was incredibly disappointing, to say the least.
“There’s a lot of conflicting ideas and opinions around that…It would be premature for me to [give a yes or no answer] on that today…If confirmed, I look forward to ensuring that the intent of the law is actually carried out in a way that recognizes both the rights of the victims as well as well as those who are accused,” she said.
Wow. It’s a good thing she’s looking out for the rights of the accused, huh? Heaven knows they aren’t given a fair shake right now — I mean, remember that guy from Stanford who raped an unconscious woman and was given a 6-month sentence by a judge but released after three months? Yeah. Sounds like making sure his rights are protected is where the problem is. Good call, idiot.
Oh, and did we forget to mention that DeVos has donated about $25,000 to FIRE? We did? Oh. Because that seems important.
2. Hotly-debated topics in education, that she seems to know nothing about
Senator Al Franken of Minnesota asked for her views on the question of “the relative advantage of doing assessments and using them to measure proficiency or to measure growth.” DeVos’s answer? “Thank you, Senator, for that question. I think if I’m understanding your question correctly…” and then went on to describe what she thought was proficiency, which, it turns out, was actually growth. Franken was shocked: “This is a subject that been debated in the education community for years [and] it surprises me that you don’t know this issue.” We’re going to be honest, here — we have no idea what proficiency versus growth means, either. But we also aren’t trying to become the Secretary of Education.
3. Federal laws that protect children with disabilities
Senator Hassan of New Hampshire, whose son has cerebral palsy, asked DeVos about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), noting that her son was able to receive a quality education due to that law. First, DeVos said how glad she was that Hassan’s son was able to “find the right setting for him” to get an education. Hassan corrected her, saying that her son went to the same public school as her daughter, because that’s the law, which was the whole point of the question.
Later, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia asked if she believed all schools that receive federal funding should be required to follow the guidelines of IDEA, and she said, “I think that’s a matter best left to the states.” Kaine said, “So some states might be good to kids with disabilities and other states might not be so good and, what then, people can just move around the country if they don’t like how kids are being treated?” “I think that’s a matter best left to the states,” she repeated.
Hassan, who got to ask a follow-up, asked DeVos if she stood by that statement even though IDEA is a federal law. Said DeVos, “I may have confused it.”
You know what’s not confused? The fact that DeVos obviously believes that the education of kids with disabilities is not a priority and not something that all schools funded by the government should be required to provide resources for. She seems to believe that they should find their own quality educations in their own “settings” away from general education. I believe she should go do some unseemly things to herself.
4. She thinks states should be left to decide if guns should be in schools — in case a grizzly bear attacks. Not kidding. She said that.
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut (he represents Newtown — you might have heard of the place) asked DeVos a very simple question: does she believe, as the President Elect has said he does, that guns should be allowed in or around schools? She said, “I think that’s best left to locales and states to decide.” Murphy asked, “You can’t say definitively today that guns shouldn’t be in schools?” And here’s where it gets good.
“Well, I would refer back to Senator Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming…I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.”
So, first of all, the school Enzi talked to her about in a private meeting uses wildlife fences to keep out animals. Not guns. Second, are you kidding me? Because I would like you to please be kidding me. You think that states should decide whether or not have guns in their schools because of the threat of grizzly bear attacks? Which, by the way, are extremely rare: the chance of getting attacked by a bear in Yellowstone National Park (not a school) is 1 in 2.7 million.
I asked Google if a child has ever been attacked by a bear at school, and came up with one incident in 2011 where a starving Norwegian polar bear attacked a group of British children who were on a school camping trip near a glacier on the island of Spitsbergen. So…you know…let’s make sure we arm our teachers in New Jersey.
Dear Congress, please save our children (both literally and figuratively) from this woman. Love, Us.