Schooling Betsy

From The Atlantic:

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced an unwelcome reception Wednesday as she delivered the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college in Daytona Beach, Florida. As the university’s president, Edison Jackson, began to award DeVos an honorary degree, many students in the crowd started to boo, while faculty applauded. A mere seconds after DeVos began speaking, the room erupted in shouts. A number of students turned their backs on the speaker, who attempted to elevate her voice above the crowd’s for the majority of her time on stage.


Original DVD cover

Students in the crowd were especially angered by DeVos’s mention of the university’s founder, Mary McLeod Bethune, the daughter of slaves and a civil rights activist. As DeVos announced she would be visiting Bethune’s home and gravesite later in the day, a few voices could be heard shouting, “No!” One of the graduates, Donjele Simpson, expressed frustration that DeVos had “the nerve” to bring up Bethune’s legacy. “What does she know about that?” Simpson askedTheWashington Post.


Though pronounced, Wednesday’s student reaction was not altogether surprising. Prior to the commencement ceremony, multiple petitions circulated on Bethune-Cookman’s campus, expressing concern over DeVos’s upcoming appearance. The petitions, which together featured around 60,000 signatures, were delivered to school officials on Tuesday. Before the event, Jackson wrote a letter to the campus community defending the university’s invitation. “If our students are robbed of the opportunity to experience and interact with views that may be different from their own, then they will be tremendously less equipped for the demands of democratic citizenship,” Jackson wrote.
The response failed to resonate with the Florida chapter of the NAACP, which called for Jackson to resign.
In a petition on, Dominik Whitehead, a 2010 graduate of Bethune-Cookman, said that students understood the importance of engagement and open communication, but felt it was inappropriate for DeVos to serve as the university’s commencement speaker. “Bethune-Cookman University doesn’t need a photo op from the Trump Administration,” the petition reads. The statement calls to mind criticism of a February photo featuring President Trump and representatives from America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The photo went viral for a number of reasons, including the fact that Trump invited the representatives for a “listening session,” only to spend less than ten minutes in conversation with them.
Many have criticized DeVos’s response to the meeting as well. In a statement on February 27, DeVos referred to HBCUs as “pioneers” of school choice, claiming that the institutions “started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education.” The remark was historically naive: HBCUs were founded in response to slavery and Jim Crow during a time when black Americans had few choices about their livelihood, let alone their education.
DeVos has also been faulted for championing the use of private-school vouchers, which have often failed in their attempt to integrate private institutions. A recent report from the Century Foundation even argues that vouchers lead to more racial, religious, and socioeconomic segregation in schools.
Don’t strain your precious eyeballs, my darling Raisinettes, here’s a closer look of the DVD banner at the top:
(Click on the image for a slightly larger version)


Filed under Betsy DeVos, humor, movies, parody, Racism, Republicans, satire, snark

22 responses to “Schooling Betsy

  1. DeVos had it coming. Just another Trumpette. I’m glad she got booed. She is one ill-informed woman and I’m trying to be nice calling her ill-informed.

  2. You are truly gifted, Nonnie! I am finding myself more optimistic in the past few days than I have been in a while. Especially since Pence is showing himself to be a co-conspirator … what a country

    • I get gifts? Yay!!! 😀

      I am not an optimist by nature, but even I see a glimmer of hope. Over at Daily Kos, some are lamenting that, even if we get rid of Twitler, we get Pence. If Pence is implicated and impeached, too, we get Eddie Munst…I mean, Lyin’ Ryan. If, for some reason, Ryan goes, we get Orrin Hatch. I opined that, if Twitler goes, Pence will be under suspicion, whether he is impeached or not, so he will have little political capital and no coattails for 2018 or 2020. That has to be good for Dems (and I think Dems are getting a little more aggressive each day). If Pence goes, and Edd…I mean Lyin’ Ryan winds up in the Oval Office or if we get stuck with Orrin Hatchback, there will be so much reshuffling done at the White House, as well as in Congress (new Speaker, new Mormo…I mean, senator from Utah) that nothing to little is going to get done. The downside is that we have to hold our breath that none of the justices on SCOTUS on the liberal side has to step down before we get a new Prez.

      What a shitstorm!

  3. If our students are robbed of the opportunity to experience and interact with views that may be different from their own, then they will be tremendously less equipped for the demands of democratic citizenship

    Well, lets hope that these rare occasions when one of the Trump gang gets the opportunity to experience and interact with views that may be different from their own will make them a little more equipped for the demands of democratic governance. Not that I’m expecting much.

    DeVos here resembles Rodney Dangerfield in one way — she don’t get no respect at all. But the students did the right thing. Not only were her remarks about HBCUs offensively ignorant, but we must never normalize this regime.

    Glad to see Trump’s “golden showers” episode is not forgotten. Is that little guy below him a PacMan critter?

    • I think it’s important for students, especially of college age, to be exposed to views that might not line up with their own. That said, this was a friggin graduation. It’s supposed to be a happy day that focuses on the graduates and the great milestone they have achieved. They didn’t deserve the spectacle that the university president and trustees had to know would result if they had DeVos as speaker. I am proud of the students and their reaction. Shame on Edison Jackson and the trustees.

      I added a link to a slightly larger version of the DVD banner at the top. I think you will be better able to see that it is a little emoji registering despair and shock, not a PacMan critter (though Pokey a/k/a Clyde tried out for the part).

      • Good point. A graduation isn’t normally a debating forum.

        Sheesh, that little guy looks like he’s afraid Trump is about to treat him to one of those golden showers…..

  4. vincelamb

    Bethune-Cookman University’s band plays a couple of songs whose titles apply to this situation. The first is “Wrong Idea.”