Saturday, February 11, 2017

Education Matters

A few days ago, I wrote a Senator concerning the Secretary of Education nominee.

I received a response today.

-----

Dear Ms. Bosarge:

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding Presidential appointments.

On February 7, 2017, the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education by a vote of 51-50.

I take seriously the advice and consent responsibilities the Constitution entrusts to the Senate.  Prior to her confirmation, I met with Secretary DeVos, and she reaffirmed her commitment to support public education and rural schools.  I will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Education to support programs that benefit Mississippi children and to return more control over educational policies to state and local officials.

Having the benefit of your views is important to me.  I appreciate your taking the time to write.

Sincerely,

THAD COCHRAN
United States Senator

------

My concern is that someone with zero credentials will be in charge of the education of our country's young people. I rarely write Congress, but this is one I could not ignore. They seem adamant about ditching the feds and giving control of education to the states and local districts. The problem with that is that some of those places fail. We've seen that with the probation of school districts and college embezzlement scandals, and there are plenty of other examples out there. Federal support is vital in everything from tuition and financial aid to building security and infrastructure to food and book costs. It makes a direct impact on students. I can tell you personally that I attended a college after they lost federal funding, and it was a train wreck; absolutely rock bottom, and I transferred elsewhere after the first semester. When accountability isn't taken seriously, bad or lazy people do bad or lazy things, and when those people run schools, students suffer as a result. Federal funding and guidelines are there to protect the quality of education, not to harm it. They recognize when schools are failing and hold them accountable to bring them back up to par for the sake of the kids. Who is going to address these issues when they inevitably arise again? Unless all states get their crap together and hold every school district accountable, giving all students equal access to quality public education, a lot of people are going to fall short of average intelligence and opportunity, which gives them little hope of operating at their full potential. Poor education = poverty, desperation, and crime. When education is inadequate, society is inadequate. That's not a partisan opinion. That's common sense.

The confirmation of DeVos is a potential disaster for fair and equal education. All young people in this country deserve the best chance possible at making it in life. I hope and pray they aren't thrown under the school bus.