Education topics have been in the news lately, especially since Trump has been elected, and hired Betsy DeVos as the education secretary. Colleges have routinely been marketed as something that people need in order to succeed. A person with a college education can make much more than a high school graduate, or a trade school degree recipient.
That used to be true, it still is true for some fields, but certainly not for most. Nowadays, college costs more than anyone can afford, and students are taking on debt that has massed in the trillions. Most default on these loans because there are either no jobs or jobs in their field that do not pay nearly enough to cover the loan payments and live. First, let us get to know Betsy DeVos a little, and find out what direction she is trying to take us all, so we can better understand where higher education stands in the list of priorities in life decision making.Who is Betsy DeVos?She is a person whom no one knew before Trump hired her on as education secretary of the United States. She has been on republican committees, served as chairperson for the Michigan republican party, and has been a huge advocate for private schools. This makes sense, after all, she grew up in a super Christian private school in Michigan. Her privilege as a billionaire has extended to her beliefs that every parent should have a “choice” in whether their children should attend charter schools, private education, or public schools.
She almost did not make the nomination for the education secretary though. Every single democratic senator voted against her nomination, and even a couple of republicans voted against it, but only the party loyal republicans voted for it, and they had the majority. Mike Pence has to vote to break the tie, making it 51-50.
The rest of America has been burdened by her ignorance and skewed views of the education system and what needs done to improve upon them. Higher education is one of those issues. How Does She View Higher Education?She thinks of higher education as something that no one needs. She is calling for businesses to create programs that focus on apprenticeships and internships for job training instead of educational training, then finding a career in that field, as is been traditional for hundreds of years. But, education has been at a bit of a standstill because of how it has not quite caught up with the times. Because of the wealth inequality, students have to work 2-3 jobs because it takes much more to live nowadays. This is quite interesting, because the republican party has been known to have an agenda to keep people uneducated, mostly because their base are people who have never attended any type of higher education. Trump has been on video, saying “I love the poorly educated!” in a rally with his base after his nomination.
No person should ever say that, for any reason, ever. No person should be thankful that people are uneducated. Betsy DeVos has taken on the role of enforcing the republican agenda by attacking higher education, because her party depends on the poorly educated to exist. How Does She View Public School Systems?Again, she grew up a privileged white girl who went to school at a private Christian academy. She has been known to speak about her school growing up, and telling us that her teachers and religious leaders would preach to the students about how they need to “extend the kingdom” obviously referring to expanding their beliefs in Christianity and how people in America are taught and raised.
She apparently took that to heart, and truly believes that people do not need much education besides high school, and even then, most education should come from the Christian bible. Again, religion, among other republican views, are directly associated with the poorly educated. It suffices to say that these people just do not know any better, yet they are making decisions for the rest of us regarding what we should and should not know, and that is an enormous problem that will set us back several hundred years in our education. Now, she is fighting for money from the public-school system to be funneled into the private network, which will come from city schools that are already struggling, and may even close them down. She hides behind the idea that she is giving people a choice for their education, but really, she is just putting money into what she has been taught.
She is “expanding the kingdom” as it were. Where Do We Stand Now?Although, recently, her dumpster fire of an agenda of private school choice has been put out, as she finally realized that it will never happen. Democrats and republicans alike have pushed back against a ridiculous amount of federal funding going to people who already have the means to put their kids in private schools, and take that much needed money away from public schools who fight just to stay open. Some say there is a “learning curve” for the job.
There certainly is for someone who is not qualified to be in the job. There has to be a huge learning curve. The irony here is that if we get away from free spirited higher education, we will be left with putting ourselves in jobs that we are not trained to do, and the American workforce will crumble under the ignorance and lack of education that drive our economy to be one of the best in the world.
How Can We Fix Higher Education?The biggest complaint that students have is that they are forced to learn certain areas that have nothing to do with their career focus. Learning the history of the 1300’s doesn’t really have much to do with being a nurse, or having to take elevated math classes to be a history teacher, yet people cannot get a degree without going much farther into debt for taking these classes. If the system of higher education focused on classes that were more toward their area of focus, people would actually be better educated, and would feel so much better about spending an enormous amount for the degree. Take out the unneeded classes and put a job simulation course in there. Or, how about a discussion class about current events in their field? Something, anything, that will take away classes that have nothing to do with the career choice these students have made. If a person really wants to have a better understanding of something that their career does not require or need, there is something called “continuing education” and people can sign up for online classes, or even get another degree if they so choose.
The point is, apprenticeships are fine for some jobs, but not for all, higher education should be focused on what matters, not how much money people can make off students bettering themselves.