Letter to the editor: Navajo Nation may suffer under Devos’ leadership

To the editor:

On Feb. 7, the U.S. Senate, in a historic vote in which Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote (51-50), confirmed Betsy DeVos as secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. I am disappointed by the Senate’s confirmation of Secretary DeVos.

Secretary DeVos was and continues to be the most under-qualified person to hold that office. Thousands of Navajo students K-12 and beyond will be affected by the political ideology of a market-driven school choice. Schools on the Navajo Nation are largely publically funded. Historically, private schools do not fare well in economically depressed areas, and the quality of education, curriculum, and instruction will suffer under DeVos if a policy of market-driven schools is pursued.

Additionally, substantive concern remains that the head of the U.S. Department of Education fails to comprehend and understand a central argument in education: proficiency versus growth. Entire curriculum programs and national education policies are framed around these central arguments. The Navajo Nation has participated in how education policy ought to be formulated around this central argument. The emphasis on market-driven school choice places the market and profit before student outcomes.

This is unacceptable. As a member of the Navajo Nation Council’s Health, Education, and Human Services Committee, I am committed to ensuring education policies from this Secretary will not adversely affect our Navajo students or the future aspirations of the Navajo Nation.

Amber Kanazbah Crotty, Navajo Nation Council Delegate

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