• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

Spring Donation Drive

CounterPunch is a lifeboat piggybank-icon of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet

Secretary of Education Betsy Devos received the most opposition to her nomination than any other Trump appointee that reached the Senate Vote. She’s incited boos and protests at many of her public appearances as Secretary of Education. Since Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote to confirm her nomination, Devos has beyond justified the opposition to her tenure in the first few months serving in her new position.

Last week, Devos announced $10.6 billion in cuts to educational programs all over the country. The Washington Post reported the victims of these drastic cuts include taking $12 million in funding away from the special olympics, $65 million from two programs that benefit natives in Hawaii and Alaska, and cuts $15 million from a program that provides low-income parents attending college care for their children. The budget proposes eliminating all funding for a fund created by congress to help schools pay for student support services, like mental health, and academic support.

At a time when millions of working and middle class Americans are burdened by massive student debt, as college tuition costs continue to soar and increasingly become too expensive for many students to attend, Betsy Devos’ budget proposal intends to worsen that burden.

Her budget proposal includes entirely scrapping a Public Loan Forgiveness Program signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007. The law provides relief for government employees, like teachers who aren’t paid enough in salary to afford paying over massive student debt, and non-profit workers to have their loans forgiven based on their income in 10 years.

This decision is likely to diminish the number of people who go into these already under served sectors while increasing default rates. Student debt in the United States is already at $1.4 trillion, and many people have predicted that the the debt bubble is going to pop. Trying to force those already having trouble paying student loans or not financially in a position to do so is only going to worsen the problem. Out of 44 million people in the United States with student loan debt, 8 million have defaulted on those loans. The average debt load for students is only increasing along with tuition costs, and is hurting the economy in other ways as well, especially millennials who are fairing worse off than their parents. Despite being better educated than their boomer parents, millennials earn 20 percent less than their parents did at the same age in life, according to a Federal Reserve data analysis conducted by the advocacy group, Young Invincibles.

The response to the plight millennials are facing have been elitist condescension, such as a millionaire in Time Magazine recently claiming millennials are unable to afford buying homes because they spend too much money on avocados. Attacking millennials is a favorite elite past time, as publications directed at wealthy audiences and mainstream media outlets have pandered to this elite mode of thinking, even when reporting on issues that have little to do with millennials. Betsy Devos, an out-of-touch billionaire, subscribes to this mode of thinking, and has implemented its philosophy into public policy toward education.

In addition to repealing student debt forgiveness, Devos repealed protections enacted under the Obama Administration for student loan consumers, siding with the lenders, allowing them to start charging significant fees on delinquent borrowers, and diminishing the standards for what private lenders could receive government contracts.

While Devos announced drastic cuts, she has made way for investing in her own educational philosophy under the false pretenses of “school choice.” The budget proposes increasing charter school funding by 50 percent, and she’s expected to roll out incentives for corporations and individuals who support the same “school choice” views she propagated as chair of the lobbying group, American Federal for Children. Devos’ background is in religious private schools, having exclusively attended them and donated to them. The catalyst for private and religious schools were a response to desegregation efforts in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As Felicia Wong noted in a CNN op-ed, “an estimated half-million white students left public schools between 1964 and 1975 to enroll in schools that were known as ‘segregation academies.’ This move to private schools was part of a larger ‘white flight’ movement.” She added that segregation is re-emerging in the United States as racially isolated schools have become more prevalent across the country, especially in regions where “school choice” reforms have been implemented.

Devos’ approach to the United States Education System is to benefit the private corporations that have leeched off it for personal profit at the expense of the public. From the student debt collecting agency she was personally invested in, to the for-profit schools that benefit from tax credits, vouchers, and other financial incentives, Devos is further increasing the polarizing class divide in the education system to benefit those already wealthy and powerful.

More articles by:

Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
Howie Hawkins
Does the Climate Movement Really Mean What It Says?
Gary Leupp
Bolton and the Road to the War He Wants
Jill Richardson
Climate Change was No Accident
Josh Hoxie
Debunking Myths About Wealth and Race
David Barsamian
Iran Notes
David Mattson
Social Carrying Capacity Politspeak Bamboozle
Christopher Brauchli
The Pompeo Smirk
Louis Proyect
Trotsky, Bukharin and the Eco-Modernists
Martha Burk
Will Burning at the Stake Come Next?
John W. Whitehead
The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in America
Binoy Kampmark
The Christchurch Pledge and a Regulated Internet
David Rosen
Florida’s Sex Wars: the Battle to Decriminalize Sex Work
Ralph Nader
Trump: Importing Dangerous Medicines and Food and Keeping Consumers in the Dark
Brett Haverstick
America’s Roadless Rules are Not Protecting Public Wildlands From Development
Alan Macleod
Purity Tests Can be a Good Thing
Binoy Kampmark
Modern Merchants of Death: the NSO Group, Spyware and Human Rights
Kim C. Domenico
Anarchism & Reconciliation, Part II
Peter LaVenia
Game of Thrones and the Truth About Class (Spoiler Warning)
Manuel E. Yepe
The Options Trump Puts on the Table
Renee Parsons
The Pompeo/Bolton Tag Team
David Swanson
Where Lyme Disease Came From and Why It Eludes Treatment
Cesar Chelala
Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Problems are Deeper than “Capitalism” (and “Socialism” Alone Can’t Solve Them)
Chris Zinda
Delegislating Wilderness
Robert Koehler
War’s Unanswered Questions
Robert P. Alvarez
Let Prison Inmates Vote
Barbara Nimri Aziz
A Novel We Can All Relate To
David Yearsley
Carmen’s Mother’s Day Lessons
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ziya Tong’s “The Reality Bubble”
Elliot Sperber
Pharaoh’s Dream
Elizabeth Keyes
Somewhere Beyond Corporate Media Yemenis Die
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail