Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trying To Understand

So I'm trying to understand the apparent "trickle-down" logic of leadership in the new administration. Trump has no political experience, which his supporters and apologists argue is no big deal - he'll just make sure he has a staff that helps fill his gaps of knowledge and experience. In fact, Trump himself said he'd hire "the best people" to fill his administration, people with a "track record" who have demonstrated "competence" (these are his words from the video).

Which is why Betsy DeVos for Department of Education is so confusing. She has absolutely no experience teaching, she has shown she doesn't understand key issues with regard to assessment, and as Elizabeth Warren demonstrated, she has no experience with managing or participating in a student loan program:

In fact, what does she say when Senator Warren starts grilling her on ensuring that federal dollars are protected from waste, fraud, and abuse by for-profit schools (like Trump University)? "The individuals with whom I work in the department will ensure that federal monies are used properly and appropriately." She has no experience, but don't worry, she's going to hire the best people. Where have I heard that before?

Senator Warren immediately jumps on this statement, asking if DeVos really means that she's going to "subcontract" out her own job. DeVos backtracks. Warren then informs DeVos that it's okay, there's already a policy in place to protect federal dollars; DeVos just has to enforce it. Instead, DeVos says she'll review that policy and make a decision. So DeVos offered no concrete information on what she would do as DoE head, and when Warren says, "You could just use the existing policy," DeVos says, "Yeah, maybe."

I mean, there's really two options here: "I'll keep doing what's been done" or "I have ideas for how to do things differently". "I'll do my homework and hire the best people" is not acceptable, especially when you're supposed to be one of the people the President appointed as part of his "homework and best people" approach.

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