Trumps choice of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary is a terrible one for the country’s parents and students.
Naturally, for most of those who want an end to public schools and a national system of market-based education, the DeVos choice is a gift.
It does appear that it has caused a bit of a kerfluffle among the market-based crowd who fear that Betsy’s extremism may scare away some from their movement.
It is a polite debate among thieves.
The anti-school choice crowd, of course, opposes DeVos. In Florida, some teachers are already planning protests to decry DeVos’s nomination. The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have condemned the choice, too.
We might expect criticism from teacher’s unions and other anti-school choice groups, but not from fellow education reformers. And yet some of them have been quick to join the chorus.
Some reject DeVos merely because she is willing to join the Trump cabinet. According to them, anyone who supports Trump is a misogynist and bigot.
That’s simplistic and unfair.
Crye says that the only problem with market-based schools is stupid parents who make bad choices.
A slightly less radical criticism of DeVos centers on school regulation. In an op-ed the New York Times rushed to print, Douglas N. Harris chastised her for designing Detroit’s charter school system to run like the “wild west.” Harris claims that choice can work only within a regulatory framework that somehow guarantees quality schools. As a free market loving Republican, DeVos doesn’t approach the issue that way. But that doesn’t make her an outlaw in a black hat.
For those of us who believe in giving parents power, free markets are a good thing. Some parents may make mistakes in choosing schools—but that’s part of being free, as Americans have always known. Bringing in a flock of pedantic regulators can’t eliminate risk; it just creates other problems while eroding people’s liberty.
The problem for those who want choice and charters but who are afraid of the extremism of Crye and DeVos, too bad.
Trump and DeVos are in charge.