Rep. Virginia Foxx holds a doctorate degree in an education field and has worked as a teacher and administrator in higher education. Her background would seem to make her a strong supporter of public education.
Instead, she’s the opposite. And now, with Betsy DeVos, a critic of public schools and an advocate for private ones, in as U.S. Secretary of Education, Foxx has an ally in the Trump administration.
Foxx is making the most of it in a campaign to dismantle federal rules and regulations pertaining to public education. Using a maneuver called Congressional Review Acts, Foxx’s Republican colleagues are doing away with some federal rules and seeing to it that they won’t come back to life. Environmental regulations are a top target, but so are federal education rules. Of the two education rules already repealed, one helped ensure low-performing schools got adequate support and the other monitored the effectiveness of local teacher training programs.
DeVos surely must know that Foxx would like to dismantle the Education Department altogether. But perhaps that wouldn’t bother DeVos, who advocates more “choice,” part of which means public money in vouchers to enable people to send their children to private schools — something that in the long term will be a death knell for many public schools in all parts of the United States.
Foxx says,“Sometimes doing nothing from the federal level is good.”
That might sound like agreeable rhetoric to the most conservative members of Foxx’s base — she represents the 5th District in northwest North Carolina — but it’s no way to approach government’s responsibility to provide the nation’s young people with an opportunity to gain a sound education. Without oversight from the bureaucrats Foxx and her GOP colleagues love to hate, public schools in the United States would vary widely in quality and programming
“The federal government needs to require certain things. . . . If you don’t have some (regulations), the law won’t get implemented,” said Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., who sits on the House education committee.
The Department of Education isn’t trying to run public education in every hamlet in the United States. It’s trying — or has been — to ensure that all children get a fair shake and a fair chance. Setting standards and requiring they be met is a vital service to those children.