Does no one in the Republican Party respect the will of the voters?
Senator Mike Rounds admits that a majority of South Dakotans who contacted him about the President’s Education nominee did not want Betsy DeVos confirmed. But silly voters—what do they know?
Most of the negative input was concentrated around the fact that many people had been told by special interest groups that DeVos favors funding public education through vouchers, he said in a conference call with reporters [Roger Larsen, “Rounds: More South Dakotans Opposed Than in Support of DeVos Confirmation,” Huron Plainsman, 2017.02.13].
Um, Senator Rounds? If a special interest group tells us the sky is blue, the sky is still blue. And we didn’t need special interest groups to tell us that DeVos supports vouchers; DeVos said at her confirmation hearing that she supports vouchers:
The committee’s chairman, Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican and former education secretary himself, asked DeVos whether she would try to push school vouchers onto states even though the federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, does not include or allow it.
“No,” she answered. “I would hope I could convince you all of the merit of that in maybe some future legislation, but certainly not any kind of mandate from within the department” [Cory Turner, “School Vouchers, Oligarchy and Grizzlies: Highlights from the DeVos Hearing,” NPR, 2017.01.18].
Senator Rounds further poo-poos South Dakotans’ concerns by saying Betsy DeVos can’t impose vouchers or her other bad policies here:
The good news for South Dakota is the state doesn’t have a voucher program so the issue is moot, Rounds said.
…“It’s a voucher system that does not exist in South Dakota,” he said.
The state also does not have charter schools, and Rounds said he is trying to get the message out that fears that people have about the new secretary are not ones they should have.
…Rounds also said there are no issues with DeVos and special education that would impact South Dakota [Larsen, 2017.02.13].
Get back in your bunker, South Dakota—if policies don’t directly hurt South Dakotans specifically, then South Dakotans have no business worrying about the harm those policies might do to the rest of America. So goes what passes for logic in Senator Rounds’s office.
Senator Rounds misses the possibility that South Dakotans may want to apply their commitment to public education to all American kids:
The fact is, in a rural state like South Dakota, two public schools in a community cannot be supported.
“You have to make your public schools better rather than having multiple schools,” he said [Larsen, 2017.02.13].
Make your public schools better rather than having multiple schools—you said it, Mike! Making public schools better isn’t just rural pragmatism; it’s the proper philosophy and duty of every public official, especially the United States Secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos has devoted her political career to diverting money from public schools to subsidize the private/charter school industry—in other words, the opposite of the duty of a Secretary of Education. Hence, our opposition… which you ignored on specious grounds.