Education News

Tone deaf DeVos disrespects educators in South Carolina

By Danielle Sklarew

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos demonstrated her apathy toward underpaid educators yet again during a visit to Nephron, a South Carolina pharmaceutical company, on Thursday.

While the purpose of DeVos’ visit was to call attention to a Trump administration initiative, “Pledge to America’s Workers,” she failed to mention during her speech that 650 current and retired teachers are employed at Nephron because they need the additional income.

Nephron is one of around 250 companies nationwide that have joined the Pledge to America’s Workers program.

As DeVos highlighted the initiative, which is intended to “educate, train, and reskill American workers from high-school age to near-retirement,” she ignored the reality that hundreds of teachers are forced to work part-time jobs just to make ends meet.

These teachers employed at Nephron are not working to reskill, but instead to keep themselves and their families afloat.

South Carolina ranks 48th out of 50 in states in terms of average starting teaching salaries, and 40th in average teacher salary. Due to these low wages, it is no surprise that many South Carolina teachers have had to take on second or third jobs to supplement their income.

Educators working multiple jobs are not unique to South Carolina; one-fifth of teachers nationally work more than one job.

DeVos also used her South Carolina visit to hold a round table discussion at Hidden Treasure Christian School to promote her signature voucher scheme. Like all voucher programs, DeVos’ plan would use taxpayer dollars to deliver funding to private and religious schools that are not held accountable to the public.

Only 6 percent of South Carolina students attend private schools.

South Carolina public school educators have been vocal about the need for new investments in public education. At a major protest rally in May more than 10,000 educators, parents, students and other supporters called for educator salary increases, smaller class sizes, improved school conditions, and fewer charter schools.

Just days later, DeVos spoke negatively about the efforts of these educators, saying that they should protest during “adult time,” rather than during the school day.

DeVos’s apathy toward the financial hardship experienced by many public school educators—whether they are protesting on behalf of their schools and their profession, or working a second job—is just further evidence of how ill-suited she is to serve as Secretary of Education. Read more about her tenure.

“This is insulting to the inspiring educators who dedicate their lives to the children of South Carolina, and further illustrates how out of touch and unqualified DeVos is,” said elementary school teacher and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

“If we really are serious about improving public education, we need to ensure public school students have modern textbooks, art and music courses, nurses and counselors, and high quality educators in every classroom. Betsy DeVos’ has proven yet again that none of these are a priority for her or the Trump administration.”

Educators deserve a Secretary of Education who believes in the power of public education and is willing to stand up for educators working to improve their working conditions and students’ learning conditions.

Find out how you can get involved in Election 2020.



20 responses to “Tone deaf DeVos disrespects educators in South Carolina

  1. DeVos was not hired to improve education in this country. She was hired to dismantle public education. Each of Trump’s department heads was hired to dismantle and defund that department. They are following through on Reagan’s concern that “government has gotten too big” and that all regulation is bad. They want to dismantle it ant privatize everything. Note that she NEVER has called for QUALITY education – just CHOICE. In her model program in Detroit schools, she consistently fought to keep failing charters open and funded rather than have them close and send the students back to public schools.

    PS. Note that as one hand insists that they will give public students choice through vouchers, the other hand is defunding the government by reducing taxes. Eventually there will be no money for vouchers. But that’s OK, because many capitalists view public education as a socialist program anyway. Basically what I’m saying is that DeVos is not turning a deaf ear. There is method to her madness.

  2. #DismissDeVosnow!
    She has absolutely no clue about how hard it is to be a teacher today and how much it costs to survive in today’s economy. Betsy is only interested in self-serving, and parroting Trump’s misguided and disastrous policies! As she works to dismantle public education across the country, she’s lining her greedy pockets with the profits and proceeds from charter schools. Funneling money out of the public system is the ploy to say that public schools aren’t working. We cannot allow her to deprive public schools of the resources they need to function and we must also ensure that every public school teacher across the nation is compensated properly and professionally for the work that they do everyday, both at school and at home!

    1. It must be grand to inherit your position in the sperm lucky 1%. As a career teacher w three degrees and NBCT accreditation, I am shaking my head. The rich are winning and yet they need vouchers. I worked 12 hours a day, 99% of my school year. And yet, I didn’t reserve respect or funding? WWJD? Not be a Pharisee. Just one example of how the era of serfs is returning. 🥵

    1. I am a math teacher at the high school level in Massachusetts. We have very little access to computers, our textbooks need upgrading, our teachers are underpaid an highly educated. We are the builders of the future. Ms. DeVos is sadly out of touch with the reality of public education. We need people who can work with us to build our schools, not replace our highly trained educators and undermining the tools we need to educate our children for today’s world.

      1. Agreed, but this has been going on forever, through all administrations. The more the govt. Gets involved, the worse the results. As a retired teacher, I haven’t seen any administration actually help improve public education – just look at statistics on ACT and SAT.

        1. Eric, the results of public education have NOT been getting worse. The perception is a result of think tanks developed by the 1% that began comparing results of test scores. It was artfully done. Read a small book called “How To Lie With Statistics” . Instead of being used as a warning, it was practically used as a guideline. For example – ACT and SAT scores – 40 Years ago ONLY those planning to go to college took those tests – so the scores were those of the top half or even top fourth of the population. Now, everyone is expected to take them. Think about how adding 50% more scores that you KNOW are more likely to be lower will bring down the average. But they know that 7/5 of Americans don’t understand fractions or statistics, but will just be outraged. They know their private school students will do better, because they were allowed to be selective. (p.s. 7/5 is not a mistake…. it’s math humor)

  3. Devos is one brick short of a load. This is so typical of her. As we all know she never cared about public education, and yet what is her supposed agenda?

    1. You are on the right track, just a little low on your estimate…… the b*** is a whole truck load short.

  4. Ms. De Vos is totally clueless about the qualifications of the job she has taken on! Nor does she care about teachers or the majority of students! She wants to privatize public education, since for profit companies, (whose only real interest is their bottom line each quarter), will really change their goals and care about the future of our children!!!

    Oh, I forgot, we have the evidence already at our Southern border, where for profit companies, are charging $750 per day per incarcerated immigrant applicant, and allow them the luxury of being herded together like sheep to sleep on the floor without toilets, clean water, showers, etc. Hmm……

    1. Amen, from s career teacher that felt honored to teach. I also spent 1,500 on my classroom each year and had three degrees, only two of which were compensated. I didn’t mind bcz next to good parents, I had the greatest career in the world. Also no compensation for my $2,500. 00 invested in National Bd Certification. Everyone is for great education but so few want to fund it or reward high achieving teachers.

  5. This is typical of pretty much everyone in the Trump administration–they’re all clueless. His Interior Secretary is intent on drilling in protected areas like national parks and, in one case, an Indian Reservation. De Vos is intent on destroying public education at all levels. Far from making America great again, he ‘s returning us to the Gilded Age where the rich got richer and the poor lived in slums.

    1. Having been a public school educator for 30 years, she has not one idea of what public education is all about.

      Never having experienced public education she is only interested in private education, where few of our kids go.

      In my 30 years of education, I never had a student from private or religious school students be ahead of my public education students.

      She should support public schools where most students go. Let those who choose schools support them their selves not with my tax dollars.

    1. DeVos has blinders on, she wants vouchers for private schools and doesn’t give a damn about the vast majority of the students, support staff, teachers, or administrators working hard in the public schools.
      Her mantra is private schools can fix everything. I say fix fix isn’t there. The fix is in providing the funds to public education to provide a sound education along with surrounding support services for our children coming to us from
      high poverty areas.

      We cannot do more with less, it has shown to be disastrous “experiment”. Yes, I am being facetious with that comment, but public education deserves BETTER. Poor funding in capital and operating budgets. Is not the answer. The whole of the country needs to pull together to push this insanity out of the way. Vote for common sense AND the for common good. The policy makers need to wholly include those of us
      working in Public Education and parents in the process. Lip service isn’t going to cut it any longer!

      The MD legislature passed a law putting a teacher and a parent on the State Board if Education.

    2. We the people need to get these tRUMP ASS KISSING morons out of administration! Our agenda must be the removal of tRUMP AND MOSCOW MITCH FROM OFFICE and the removal of ALL tRUMP appointees!

  6. You get what you pay for, in this case don’t pay for. Shame on this woman, the so called Secretary of Education. What a shame to not pay for the youth of America’s opportunities in education.

  7. My Dad was a grade school teacher he inspired his student and worked hard to create a learning environment that made kids want to be in his class. As it is today he held down two other jobs to be able to provide for our family. When will education become a valued part of who we are as a nation. Teachers are looked upon as a small rung on the ladder of success, when in reality they are a fundamental piece in the fabric of a strong country.

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