OK, it’s awfully hard to defend Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, especially when she shows up again and again at hearings seemingly unprepared to answer what should be obvious questions. Yet there is also an element of the unserious to the whole process. We might remember how when Al Franken “mansplained” to her about testing the woke police called in sick and everyone cheered.
Now, while DeVos’ game hasn’t markedly improved she still operates in an environment of situational gotcha. Just a few years ago everyone was chastising and jumping on Arne Duncan for acting like a national school superintendent and doing things by fiat. Today, apparently, the problem is that DeVos isn’t doing the same thing. Yesterday she declined to say she was responsible for educating every child in America or to take executive action to change policies in ad hoc ways – things Duncan was often criticized for. Cue the jeers. Whatever you think about the idea of arming teachers – I think it’s a lousy one – if the Congress was inclined they could prevent states and schools from spending money on guns or training. Instead, for all of DeVos’ shortcomings a concurrent problem is the amount of theater around all this rather than doing things. Or put differently, Betsy DeVos, pro or con, is not an education policy.