DeVosCalvinPetition

Alumni and students from Michigan’s Calvin College protest DeVos’ nomination.

Several alumni and students from Calvin College, Betsy DeVos’ Alma Mater, have signed a petition against her nomination as the next U.S. Education Secretary.

Calvin College is a Christian School, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that enrolls around 4,000 students every year. The college claims to be a top ranked college that trains students to be agents of Christ with the objective of bringing renewal into the world. According to information on the college website, students, through rigorous academic training and a sense of Christian community, are taught to “think deeply, act justly and live wholeheartedly.”

The petition against DeVos’ possible appointment is said to have been initiated by an alumnus. Currently, the petition has more than 700 signatures and will be sent to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Friday. The committee, which was supposed to vote this week, has postponed the session due to DeVos’ abysmal performance, which indicated a clear lack of knowledge concerning educational issues.

Sara Moslener, a professor of religion at the Central Michigan University and the initiator of the petition, stated she understood where DeVos was coming from. However, she added, her own experiences revealed to her that DeVos’ approach was against the idea of spiritual and religious integrity.

Moslener added, in order to solve the issues plaguing public education, resources need to be channeled away from Christian and charter schools. She also stated that her experience as a student in Calvin College showed her the problems of using “Christianity to promote Christianity.”

The petition portrays DeVos as someone who lacks the commitment and experience needed to administer public education.

While it is true that DeVos has no real experience in this arena, she has been involved deeply in advocating for school choice and supporting taxpayer funding for religious and private schools. She also supports the need for more charter schools.

A spokesperson for Calvin College said, “Our graduate Betsy DeVos is responding to her sense of call to public service, and more than 60,000 alumni from a variety of political perspectives are discerning the best ways to engage politics and culture in this moment. In all of this, our alumni are living out what we hope our students are learning during their time on campus: to think deeply, to act justly and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.”

Greg McNeilly, a spokesman for the DeVos family, has stated that Betsy passionately supports the creation of good public schools and the need to provide better options to students. He added that the heads of teacher unions were involved in seeding a partisan opposition to the current administration’s plans on improving education.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will be voting on DeVo’ nomination next week on Tuesday. The committee has also announced it will not entertain a second confirmation as requested by the Democrats.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter