Dear Mrs. DeVos,
We have a system in this country, and you’ve been confirmed as Secretary of Education because of how that system works. People voted for the president and their senators, and today, that means you now hold a position of great power in our country despite the overwhelming majority of people who asked their senators to vote no. That’s not how our system works, though, so you’re it.
It was obvious during the confirmation hearing that you hadn’t done your homework, Mrs. DeVos. That although you’ve spent years degrading public school systems and championing choice, you really did not know the essential foundations upon which public schools are built. You did not understand school law, nor did you understand basic educational practices.
You no longer have the option to skip the homework, take the test and let the failing grade stand. A failing grade for you is disasterous for us. So hit the books. We need you to be good.
Now your real work starts. Important work. Essential work. Work that has absolutely nothing to do with your personal bank accounts and everything to do with one of the foundations of this country.
Your job is political, but it is more than that.
Years ago one of my favorite superintendents explained that he knew his strengths and made sure to surround himself with assistants who could shore up his weaknesses. I hope you will do this. Spend time with public school educators: administrators and teachers. Spend time in schools: failing schools and excelling schools. Look beyond test scores because test scores are a tiny portion of what we do.
You’ve had weeks since that disasterous confirmation hearing. Hopefully you’ve utilized that time effectively.
Different points of view can lead to great successes. I hope we see that from you. Don’t let us down, Mrs. DeVos. Prove us wrong. Prove you are up to the job.
Mary Beth Lee
Public School Teacher