Sellouts

Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota,

I am writing as a constituent of South Dakota and a citizen of the United States to ask you a single question, one which you will answer through your upcoming vote on whether or not to approve of the nomination of Betsy Devos to the position of US Secretary of Education. My question is this:

How much is a student’s education worth to you?

I am a professor the in South Dakota Regental University System. My wife is a former middle school teacher and current education specialist. I count among my family and friends teachers of all grade levels, from public K-12 schools to elite colleges. We, as educators, value a student’s education above all else. We, as educators, share with our students the four-millennia legacy of human thought, to challenge them to think critically and to foster in them a love of learning. We, as educators, universally oppose the nomination of Ms Devos to the post of the nation’s chief promoter of student success and educational excellence.

Even a cursory review of her record shows that Ms Devos lacks any of the training or experience that would qualify her for establishing and administering national policies regarding public education. She is not the product of US public schooling, nor has she deigned to subject her own children to it. She has advocated against public schooling and for the use of federal monies to fund private charter schools, simultaneously arguing that the latter not be held to the same standards of academic rigor and performance as the former. Her January Senate hearing revealed deficits in comprehending even basic educational issues, while her subsequent plagiarized written answers revealed further deficits in integrity and honesty to boot. It is for these reasons and more that Ms Devos’ nomination is opposed by more than 250 civil rights and educational groups across the United States.

How much is a student’s education worth to you?

This is not a question of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, nor is it a question of whether you are a conservative or a liberal. This is a question of whether you will heed the advice of millions of American educators or kowtow to the demands of our nation’s Neophyte-in-Chief. This is a question of whether you will put the interests of our nation’s public school students ahead of the interests of your President or your Party.

How much is a student’s education worth to you?

On one hand, the SD DOE reports that as of 2016 there are over 132,000 South Dakota students in public K-12 education, and, conservatively, another 30,000 students enrolled in our state universities; hence, there are currently over 162,000 students in South Dakota’s public schools and universities. On the other hand, the Federal Election Commission reports that Ms Devos and her family have contributed approximately $46,800 to your campaigns. That works out to 46,800 ÷ 162,000, or 0.2888 dollars per student.*

That’s 29 cents per student.

Is Ms Devos’ asking price for your vote enough?

Is that how much a student’s education is worth to you?

I sincerely hope not.

That is why I hope you will join with Republican Senators Collins and Murkowski, as well as impassioned and dedicated educators across the country, and vote NO on Betsy Devos’ nomination as Secretary of Education.

I thank you for your time and service.
Travis

* And for your colleague John Thune, the number is $17,500 in Devos campaign money, which reduces to 0.1080 dollars (that is, 11 cents) per student.  Ask him about this for me, would you?

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sixty six + = seventy two