Tag: cabinet

One of the most right-wing newspapers in the entire country couldn’t find a single Betsy DeVos supporter in the education community

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post was originally written on Medium by the administrator of this blog and has been republished in full.


Above the fold on the front page of today’s issue of The News-Gazette, a Champaign, Illinois-based newspaper that covers the east-central part of Illinois and has a very right-wing reputation, was this story about how many in the public education community are opposed to the nomination of Betsy DeVos to the office of U.S. Secretary of Education.

In The News-Gazette’s attempt to find a DeVos supporter, they couldn’t find a single one in the educational community in East Central Illinois.

The strongest opposition to DeVos came obviously from teachers’ union leaders, although many in management (i.e., public school administrators) strongly opposed DeVos as well. Sheila Greenwood, the superintendent of schools in the Bement, Illinois public school system (covering southern portions of Piatt County, Illinois), said this about DeVos:

Bement Superintendent Sheila Greenwood was so appalled by how DeVos answered senators’ questions last month that she contacted her legislators, “begging them to put a stop to this insanity.”

“She couldn’t answer basic questions about schools, funding or assessment. She is uber-wealthy and has no experiences with public education because she lives like the 1 percent and knows nothing,” Greenwood said. “I think Trump will have his puppet and others will run the department.

Jeremy Darnell, the superintendent of the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley public school system in Illinois (map of district here), said this about DeVos:

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Superintendent Jeremy Darnell was unimpressed with her hearing, as well, saying it was “very evident” she lacks understanding of current education issues.

[…]

“Votes should be cast on merit, preparation and the ability to effectively fill an essential role in our national government, not party line politics,” Darnell said. “All appointments should be considered for their ability to effectively advise our elected leadership. No leader can be a master at all so the essential need to surround yourself with experts in their field is more important today than ever.

The Bement and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school districts are located in some of the most Republican areas in all of Illinois, and voters in both school districts voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

The closest person that The News-Gazette could find to a DeVos supporter was Mr. Seth Miller, the superintendent of the public school system that I attended, the Westville Community Unit School District in Illinois. I’m paraphrasing, but Mr. Miller’s thoughts about DeVos were basically of the “give DeVos a chance if she’s confirmed” mentality without offering any explicit support of DeVos:

“We have the best educational system in the world. A leader who is committed to children, who need access to public education, would receive my support,” Miller said. “… Spirited debate with informed constituents helps make us a strong country — big enough and brave enough for diverse opinions. It is my hope that whoever is confirmed as the next secretary of education will help perpetuate this democratic ideal in our public school system.”

Having seen video clips of the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, it is clear to me that, if confirmed, DeVos would be a downright horrible Education Secretary.

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Bruce Rauner paying former charter school operator $250,000 per year to advise him on education policy

While Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner claims to be a guy who wants to fix Illinois’s fiscal problems, his actions as governor say something much different.

For example, Rauner is paying Beth Purvis, a former head of a Chicago charter school, $250,000 in Illinoisans’ taxpayer money every year to advise Rauner on education policy:

In her role as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s education policy adviser, Beth Purvis is pulling in a $250,000 annual salary, the Associated Press reports.

That salary is more than twice as large as the earnings of previous officials in the position. Of Rauner’s Cabinet members, Purvis, the former head of the Chicago International Charter School (CICS), is earning the largest salary, according to the news organization.

The former CICS CEO told the AP that the $250,000 salary is “commensurate with what I’ve been paid in the past.”

Given that charter schools divert taxpayer money from public schools and lower the quality of education for Illinois children, it’s horrible that Rauner would hire someone who was an administrator of a charter school to advise him on education. What’s just as bad, in my opinion, is that the Rauner Administration is paying a political adviser more than any of our state’s constitutional officers (governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and comptroller) earn, which is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.

Our state’s fiscal problems are too severe for anyone in our state’s government to collect a quarter of a million dollar salary every year.

Lindsey Graham makes racist and sexist remarks about what he’d do if elected president

Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is up for re-election on Tuesday for a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate, made racist and sexist remarks about what he’d do if he were to win the 2016 presidential election at a private dinner attended by men only:

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham‘s remark at a private, all-male dinner about mainly helping white men if he became president was a joke taken out of context, his campaign said Thursday.

But Graham’s opponent, Democratic state Sen. Brad Hutto, said the comment shows he is a typical Republican who isn’t concerned about the middle class, poor, minorities or women.

About 20 seconds of clips of Graham’s speech were provided to The Associated Press, and Graham’s campaign confirmed it was him speaking. CNN first reported the remarks Wednesday, less than a week before the election to decide whether Graham gets a third term in the Senate. He has outspent Hutto by a wide margin and is a big favorite to win in conservative South Carolina.

After using profanity to say the government is messed up, Graham tells the group: “If I get to be president, white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.”

That did NOT sound like a joke to me, and I thought that Lindsey Graham’s racist, sexist remarks were NOT funny whatsoever. Not only did Graham, a very conservative Republican who is one of the biggest war hawks in either house of Congress, indicate that he intends to run for president two years from now (although he hasn’t formally entered the race for the GOP presidential nomination yet), he also indicated that, if he were to somehow win the presidency (what little chance of that happening is, more than likely, gone due to his remarks), he’d only appoint white men to cabinet positions and other heads of federal agencies. That is a 19th century view of society, and someone with that kind of view of society doesn’t belong in the White House.