I’ve tried to keep this blog about my own personal growth, and reflecting on what I need to do to get better. I’ve also tried to keep it as a personal blog, less worried about what others think about my writing, and more focused on what it does for me as a leader and learner.
This piece will still be reflective, but rather than being directed towards me, it is directed towards one other person, Mrs. Betsy DeVos, after a hearing that left me beyond frustrated. Hopefully, writing this letter will help me to more clearly reflect on the event.
Dear Mrs. DeVos,
First, let me commend you on a career that many deem as successful, and an elevation to a high-profile placement in the Trump administration. It is clear that your passion for your work, and for the personal and professional projects you engage in, has made you well-respected.
However, passion, and desire should never cloud us from making the right decision. It is clear, after viewing yesterday’s hearing, that the right decision is for you to decline the potential post of Secretary of Education, for the betterment of all learners, including yourself.
Your hearing, all politics aside, showcased your lack of knowledge of educational policy, your lack of ability to commit to an educational pathway, and your lack of skill in providing evidence for your claims.
For instance, Senator Murphy’s question regarding gun violence needed to be showcased by your explicit belief and policy steps, not a reference to bear attacks that make light (though I’m sure you didn’t mean to) of the human-to-human attacks that have happened in schools recently.
Your inability to provide any meaningful response to Senator Franken’s query about whether you would lead education from a foundation of “proficiency” or “growth” highlighted how cloudy you are on a debate that has, in many ways, split the country around education. It was clear that you would not be able to moderate that debate, much less lead the country in any direction around it.
When Senator Hassan requested you go back to the discussion about federal policy regarding education, you mentioned you might have confused IDEA with something else (thereby hoping to cover your lack of knowledge about the law and what it entails). This showed just how unprepared you are to move into a role where federal, state, and local, are all involved.
These three examples alone showcase that you are ill-prepared and unable to serve as our next Secretary of Education. And as I’m sure you can admit to yourself, there were many more.
The question is: Are you a learner? Or someone who believes they know all there is to know?
A learner would reflect on performance, realize that he/she walked out of that room with ahead held low and with a serious look on his/her face, and recognize that the statements made were at odds with someone who is ready to support ALL learners.
And that person, would for the betterment of those they could potentially serve, pull themselves out of the running, knowing that the world would have ultimate respect for someone who can monitor themselves in that way, and realize, they first have much to learn before accepting a role such as this.
However, a non-learner, would roll with it. That person would assume that all will be alright, and that they do, in fact, know enough to lead.
And that person would do an injustice to a portion of our country that needs tremendous support and leadership always.
So, Mrs. Devos, which are you?
I didn’t always agree with Secretaries King, Duncan, Paige, and Spellings, but, truth be told, I felt better about them as educators and more confident with their educational “know-how.”
Mrs. DeVos, it is with a heavy heart that I implore you to please walk away from this opportunity. Learners around the country will thank you.