Topic

Betsy DeVos

13 petitions

Update posted 12 months ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate

Protect Foreign Language Programs In Our Schools

Please sign and share this petition to tell the U.S. Congress to reject the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts that would eliminate major funding for international education and foreign language programs. This legislation would directly impact our students’ academic performance, the American economy, and our country’s capacity to interact and compete with other nations. Language study is vital for facilitating intercultural communication and cooperation. The merit of foreign language programs lies in the exposure of students to the vast world beyond their respective communities. Languages are the bridge by which the United States can interact with other nations, and they are universally applicable to all fields of study. American companies lose an estimated $2 billion a year due to inadequate cross-cultural guidance for their employees in multicultural situations (Committee for Economic Development, 2006). Our students go on to work in jobs that require interactions with different countries and cultures, and foreign language skills are critical in these professional endeavors that contribute to economical growth. Students who completed at least four years of foreign-language study scored over 120 points higher on each section of the SAT than students who took a half year or less (College Board, 2016). Extensive research shows that the process itself of learning another language supports academic achievements and cognitive benefits. Thus, even for students who do not directly use a foreign language beyond formal education, their language classes nevertheless make a valuable contribution to their future. The Trump administration’s rationale for the proposed budget cuts is that international education and foreign language programs "suppor[t] activities that are better advanced by other agencies whose primary mission is national security." Diplomacy is the first step in national security before putting our troops in danger unless absolutely necessary. Retired U.S. military officers recently wrote a letter urging Congress to fully fund diplomacy in recognition of the fact that "many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone.” Not every student will go on to become an official diplomat, but our nation certainly stands to gain from diplomatic citizens who are culturally aware and appreciate global diversity as a result of foreign language classes. International education and foreign language programs foster the skills and values essential to cultivating the compassionate global citizens that will comprise our country's next generation of leaders. Put America first by protecting these programs in our schools. Help ensure that our next generation is equipped to actively engage with the diverse cultures of our world.

Jacquelyn Kim
1,266 supporters
This petition won 1 year ago

Petition to Patty Murray, Jerry Moran, richard durbin, Thad Cochran, Jack Reed, Richard Shelby, Barbara Mikulski, Lamar Alexander, Jeanne Shaheen, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Merkley, Mark Kirk, Brian Schatz, Bill Cassidy, Tammy Baldwin, Shelley Capito, James Lankford, U.S. Senate

Confirm Betsy DeVos as Education secretary.

Here are seven things you need to know about DeVos. 1. DeVos is a supporter of school choice. "I'm most focused on educational choice," DeVos told Philanthropy Roundtable in 2013, per USA Today. "But, thinking more broadly, what we are trying to do is tear down the mindset that assigns students to a school based solely on the ZIP Code of their family’s home. We advocate instead for as much freedom as possible." The editors at National Review, who ardently support DeVos, document some of her efforts in fighting for school choice: A decades-long education reformer, DeVos has worked quietly behind the scenes to create opportunities for every student to flourish, regardless of zip code. Those efforts started in her home state of Michigan, where in 1993 she and her husband (who, among other philanthropic roles, is on the board of the National Review Institute) helped enact the state’s charter-school law. That was a springboard for a nationwide strategy that backs legislators, candidates, and initiatives that aim to increase school choice, through the organization DeVos founded in 2010, the American Federation for Children. It is arguably the most effective education-reform organization in the country. Candidates whom DeVos has backed include former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, who established a statewide voucher program that his successor, Mike Pence, expanded. This year, AFC and its state-affiliated PACs were involved in 121 state-level and local races in twelve states and won 89 percent of them, everywhere from Georgia to Nevada. In Florida, the state’s teachers’ union spent $2.7 million on legislative races, about twice as much as its opponents — and pro-school-choice candidates still won 20 out of 21 state-level races.DeVos also co-founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy–a charter school–with her husband, Richard DeVos, Jr.   DeVos opposed a 2003 Michigan initiative that would have overturned affirmative action. American Civil Rights Coalition chairman Ward Connerly put forward the initiative to counteract the Supreme Court's decision to uphold affirmative action. Per National Review: “I fear this ballot initiative would openly serve to further divide people along racial lines, which would be entirely counterproductive,” said GOP party chair Betsy DeVos. Worse still, the loss of Republican support also means the loss of access to the DeVos family fortune (her husband is the founder of Amway). DeVos has long been one of the biggest bankrollers of conservative causes in the state — including 2000′s nationally watched campaign for Michigan school vouchers. Without their financial muscle, Connerly supporters concede, the campaign will need to turn to out-of-state-money sources, providing ammunition to opponents who are already declaring Connerly a carpetbagger who should “go home” to California.It's only fitting that Trump would pick a cabinet member who had opposed an initiative to overturn affirmative action, as he once called the late Justice Antonin Scalia a racist for opposing affirmative action.   DeVos is despised by teacher's unions. Despite the concerns with DeVos, she does rile up teacher's unions, per USA Today: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Wednesday called DeVos' pick "the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education." Weingarten added, “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America. DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan. Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless and extreme ideology on the nation."That is perhaps DeVos's best endorsement.

American Patriots
13 supporters