November 28, 2017
By Harold Meyerson | Dec 18, 2017
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has never shown herself to be a shrinking violet, but her silence as the Republican tax cut bill slithers its way through Congress is worth noting. Consider all the bill does for—or more precisely, against—both students and teachers:
It ends schoolteachers’ ability to deduct up to $250 for their expenses incurred buying equipment for their classrooms or students.
It ends graduates’ and former students’ ability to deduct up to $2,500 for their interest payments on student loans.
It requires graduate students to declare as taxable income the tuition fees that their universities routinely waive, essentially requiring them to pay taxes on incomes of approximately $50,000 when their actual incomes are roughly half that.
The bill, in all its majesty, requires students and teachers at DeVos’s beloved private and parochial schools, as well at her detested public schools, to pay these added taxes, burdening the teachers and students she presumably wants to encourage, as well as those she wants to banish, with taxes that in many cases may drive them from their profession.
Defense secretaries have been known to lobby Congress when defense appropriations are under consideration, and to keep certain critical defense industries in business. Some might think the future of American education is a factor in the nation’s defense as well, but apparently not the current education secretary, at least, not so much that she has bestirred herself to speak up for teachers and students. Far from championing her charges, she offers the Silence of DeVos.