The Miseducation Of Betsy DeVos
The Trump Administration is what happens when hubris, nepotism, corruption, incompetence and pure self-interest love each other very much and decide to make a baby. A perfect example is Secretary Of Education Betsy DeVos. We have written a lot about DeVos's hate, greed and incompetence. But if you are somehow not familiar with how bad she really is, here's some from her confirmation hearing:
Of course that wasn't the only time our secretary Of Education couldn't answer basic questions, as we also have her disastrously 2018 "60 Minutes" appearance, which was roundly mocked by late night comedians:
If you think DeVos has gotten any smarter or better at answering tough questions, you are wrong.
DeVos made appearances this weekend on CNN's "State of The Union" and "Fox News Sunday." Since DeVos gave the same canned answers in both interviews, we'll mainly focus on her infuriating appearance on CNN.
DeVos asked if she has a plan to reopen schools. See her response www.youtube.com
Earlier this week, DeVos and Trump (via tweet, of course) insisted that schools will fully reopen in a few weeks, despite them not being able to feasibly meet CDC coronavirus prevention guidelines. (Which are now being rolled back and replaced with easier guidelines at Trump's behest, looks like.)
CNN host Dana Bash began her questioning with actual quotes Betsy DeVos said with her mouth:
BASH: You said this week -- quote -- that "There's nothing in the data that suggests it would not be appropriate to have kids in school." So, [I] want to take a look at that data. The U.S. hit a record number of new cases on Friday. The number of new cases per day is higher now in 45 of the 50 states than when schools shut down in March. Hospitalizations are climbing in several states. And some ICUs are at or near capacity. So, yes or no, can you assure students, teachers, parents, that they will not get coronavirus because they're going back to school?
DEVOS: Well, the key is that kids have to get back to school.
Not the question Dana Bash asked. Bash tried again by personalizing the question:
BASH: I'm a parent. I want my school-aged child to go back to school as much as you are saying you want for everybody. But the question is, can it happen safely? So, can you -- by saying what you just said, also assure parents, students, children, everybody who's there, that they're going to be able to do so safely?
DEVOS: Well, we know that children get the virus at a far lower rate than any other part of the population. […] And we have seen this in countries, other countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world, where students have gone back to school and have done so very successfully. That should be the goal.
Let's debunk these two points that DeVos repeats over and over on this interview. As quoted in this op-ed from The Hill advocating for schools reopening, The CDC states that of the first 68,998 U.S. deaths from COVID-19, only 12 were in children under age 14 — less than 0.02 percent. Which seems like a low number, until you realize that 0.02 percent of students in America would actually be 14,740 children! That's about 40 times the number of school shooting victims from the last 10 years.
As far as comparing ours schools with other countries, Chris Wallace called BS on that when DeVos brought it up on "Fox News Sunday":
WALLACE: You mentioned earlier about other countries. [...] So let's look at the statistics there if we can. [...] Germany reported 378 new cases on Friday. Denmark, 30. Norway, 11. Meanwhile, the U.S. reported 68,226 new cases on Friday.
Question, is it really fair, is it reasonable to compare the situation in countries that have 20 new cases in a day with a -- with a country that has 68,000 new cases in a day?
DEVOS: Well, we're talking about schools and other countries experiences with reopening schools. And it has been shown to be very successful. Kids have gone back to learning environments and have done so safely and helpfully.
WALLACE: But schools happen in an environment. If there's -- if there's 30 cases in a state -- in a country, that's very different than a place where it's out of control and there are 70,000 new cases in a day.
Back on CNN, Bash quoted a CDC fact that says, "If children meet in groups, it can put everyone at risk. Children can pass this virus onto others who have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19." DeVos responded with some pablum about YMCA childcare facilities.
It only got worse from there. But you get the idea.
Bash tried to ask an extremely simple question:
BASH: I'm not hearing a plan from you on how to get to that goal of children in school learning, but doing so safely. Does the Department of Education have a plan to do that?
Yeah, nope. Betsy DeVos's approach anytime she has to actually do her job is to be maddeningly unresponsive. She would make a great Marathon Rental Car associate if she wasn't a rich, multi-yacht owning grifter with a sadistic Aryan younger brother.
Until or unless we do something about it in November, we are left with this failure as Education secretary.
See you for next week's Sunday shows roundup, where we watch them so you never have to! The end.
Pop Culture observer & Comics fan. Amateur Movie Reviewer. Political Freelance Writer @wonkette. Marine, Husband & Dad. Opinions are mine only.