(Photos by Kelly Ocock)
Hundreds gathered at Centennial Park in Holland on Jan. 28 to march around the block, protesting against DeVos, who was a Holland resident and graduate of Calvin College. She is known for being a supporter in vouchers toward private school tuition and advocates toward charter schools.
The future of our education holds high stakes with the help of Besty DeVos, who was nominated as Secretary of Education by President Donald Trump. Not only do the majority of Americans criticize her for her lack of experience in teaching and administration in public schools, but her history of political funding shows that she is turning the education system into a business. DeVos appears as a high threat to public education because of her policies she plans to implement that can degrade the benefits of public schools.
DeVos had planned her charter-school movement since the early 1990s, when she and Dick DeVos passed Michigan’s first charter-school bill, allowing the state to fund public money into quasi-independent educational institutions.
Several people argue that a charter school system actually hurts students’ academic performances. They tend to be more selective by providing a restricted curriculum, less academic regulation and usually an increase in segregation. Since they are independent, charter schools have the control to give advantages to those who can afford it while eliminating those with lesser privileges.
Not all charter schools may serve students equally since it lacks legal regulations in the curriculum and minimum requirements for further education. These institutes may easily eliminate students with learning disabilities in these schools that neglect legal responsibility.
For most impoverished students, vouchers will not cover the full tuition of private institutes since these schools can only be funded though the students.
Meanwhile, in Holland, the protesters were peaceful as they rallied around the park with vehicles driving past, honking for support. Several residents from the Michigan area gathered along Centennial Park with signs to show their stance.
A resident from Lansing, Carol Meeks, traveled to Holland as she felt this event was important to her contribution. “Education is a foundation, and with Betsy DeVos at the wheel, that foundation will crumble, and who knows what will happen to our kids and the kids of the next generation,” Meeks said. “It’s been tough to see what’s happening around the country, but I don’t think it’s going to get any better with Betsy DeVos in charge of schools,” Meeks’ high school senior daughter, Karlie said.
While DeVos claims that her ideas will open more choices for education, this may degrade the public school districts by disregarding quality of these schools. Families may have more options toward their education, but if the financial focus is geared toward improving private and chartered schools, then what is left for the public education, faculty and students?