Despite having no experience in education, Betsy DeVos became Secretary of Education earlier this year by the narrowest of margins -- a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Pence. Until today, our local "newspapers" have published nothing but kind words about her. If you do a search on their website it yields at least a half-dozen columns, op-ed pieces, and editorials that praise her for, among other things, her support for charter schools and her dislike for public schools and teacher unions. I think it's safe to say that Betsy DeVos has been an Ogden favorite.
Until today. Here is the final paragraph of today's lead editorial, "Backing Denizens of 'The Swamp'":
Many words -- some of them with four letters -- come to mind in regard to such vicious stupidity. Yet DeVos is standing behind the bureaucratic perpetrators. Apparently, she sees her mission as making the swamp stink even more than it has for decades.
What has Betsy DeVos done to warrant such harsh words from the News-Register? Simple, her education department has rejected a West Virginia University application for five more years of funding for a program that aids low-income students. What upsets the News-Register is that the application that would have provided WVU with $220,000 for five years was turned down because of a $2 clerical error.
Similar Department of Education actions affect at least 40 colleges/universities which also made clerical mistakes and are losing money for low-income students. Why is the News-Register surprised? When has DeVos shown any sympathy for educational funding for low-income students? This editorial was written because Ogden favorite E. Gordon Gee and West Virginia University lost grant money. (And in what I'm sure is just a coincidence, the WVU's president is on the front page of today's paper with an article about how he wants the state to become "hip.")
Let me be clear -- I am appalled that the Department of Education is taking this action. Given this administration, however, I'm appalled but not surprised. As for the News-Register, the editorial is there because West Virginia University lost grant money not because the N-R is so fond of federal programs for low income students. The government can do whatever it wants to others; their sense of outrage kicks in only when it's done to them or their friends. (Simply put, there would have been no editorial had this not happened to WVU.)
Left out of the editorial -- West Virginia State University
An important piece of information missing from the editorial is that WVU is not the only West Virginia school that has been affected by the education department's action. West Virginia State University stands to lose a half-a-million dollars over a $104 error. Certainly the long-term effects will be even more devastating for the much-smaller state university. Okay, their president is not an Ogden favorite but I wonder why was their plight was not even mentioned in the editorial?
Note -- no link to the editorial. It's currently not online.