As you know, there is this person who has been nominated for the position of Secretary of Education in #45’s cabinet. As you may also know, she is highly unqualified to even be considered for this position and is only being nominated because she’s rich as hell and has bought herself this position.
We are, right this minute, looking down the barrel of a loaded gun that is pointed directly at every single one of our children. For, in Ms. DeVos’ eyes, if your child is poor or non-white or has a disability or any number of other markers that mean “not rich & filled with privilege,” she doesn’t care.
Now I don’t know exactly what it takes to be the Secretary of Education for our country. I don’t know all the ins & outs, the laws & policies that need to be studied and followed. I don’t even know all the things I don’t know – you know?
But here’s what I do know. I know that when it came to the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilites in Education Act), she was utterly clueless. She didn’t even seem to know what it means. And, in a moment of transparency that spoke VOLUMES, she said that this was a matter that the states should handle. Which tells me not only does she not KNOW what the IDEA does, she doesn’t give a ripe fig.
See, the IDEA is our country’s way to make sure that states don’t shuffle off our children with special needs. To make sure that there are guidelines and rules that MUST be followed in order to ensure that every child has the right to educational opportunities. And to make sure that these children are included with the mainstream, offered the same or similar opportunities as the mainstream, and to give them EVERY. SINGLE. POSSIBLE. SHOT. at learning, growing, achieving, and becoming a valuable member of society. To remove the IDEA and trust the states to do what’s right is INSANE. Let me tell you why.
I live in Illinois. My state ranks fourth FROM THE BOTTOM in providing services for people with disabilities. That includes children, yes, but also adults. As far as special education services, the DOE reported in 2015 that Illinois joins 31 others in the category “needs assistance (2 or more years).” Of course, that’s better than Texas & District of Columbia, who ranked “needs intervention.” But it’s interesting, since Illinois is ranked #13 in 2016’s States With the Best School Systems. How we can do well in providing mainstream education, but fall short when it comes to students with special needs is kind of baffling. But I digress. The point is that without these federal IDEA standards, how well do you think individual states will do with achieving excellence (or even satisfactory results) on their own?
But here’s the point. Ms. DeVos made it through her committee hearing. Even after senator upon senator was called until they stopped answer their phones or emptying their voice mails, even after email after email came flooding into official inboxes, even after tweet after tweet to senators fell on deaf ears – all begging our elected officials to listen to us and deny this person a post – they voted “yes” and moved her on. I, myself, spent time over several days tweeting different senators (“this one’s on the fence!!” “that one wants to hear from us!”) with a short video of my son, Henry. I shared the video, introduced him and reiterated that Ms. DeVos doesn’t care about kids like Henry. That their educational opportunities will be slashed with her in charge. I thought that, just maybe, making it a little personal might make a difference.
But it didn’t. Because these men & women WE PUT in their positions don’t give a rat’s ass about what we want. They are only concerned with the party line, the money they’re getting from PAC funds, donors, and whatever little piece of power they might get by doing what someone up higher tells them to do. They forget. THEY WORK FOR US.
So, I’m done. If there is one thing these people in Washington should know, it’s that you’d BETTER NOT MESS WITH OUR KIDS. Have you ever seen a Mama Lion or a Mama Bear or even a Mama Goose if something comes after their young? They will fight to the death. And that’s what I’m talking about right now.
Dear Ms. DeVos & (especially) the GOP members of Congress:
Be prepared. A fight is coming. We mothers will no longer stand by and let you sell away our children’s futures. I am right now, standing up and declaring this: I promise, with every cell, bone, breath, and thought in my body, that if you Ms. DeVos gets confirmed and becomes Secretary of Education, I will rally. I will engage. I will round up every last Mama Bear I can, create grassroots groups, resistance movements, and voter cells that will take action. I will, very simply, keep a record of EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU who votes “yes” for her. And with every ounce of strength I can muster, I will round up troops to make sure this is the last term you serve. Whether you are in Illinois or Louisiana or Washington or North Dakota – I will find voters in your state and I will empower them to go and start working NOW to make sure you don’t get re-elected. There is NOTHING in this country worth more than our children. If you can’t see that, woe be unto you. This country has never seen the power and strength and determination of mothers whose children are threatened. And, make no mistake, confirming this woman is a direct threat. You think things are bad? Just wait. Thousands upon thousands of mothers, angry as hell, doing the groundwork, the organizing, the fighting, the emailing, the tweeting, the legwork with the sole purpose of REMOVING YOU FROM OFFICE. This isn’t a threat. It’s a promise. It’s a vow. It’s a warning. Our new president has been wildly and ridiculously telling other foreign leaders that they are “on notice.” Well, right back atcha. YOU ARE ON NOTICE. You work for US. If you do not do what we want (and the people overwhelmingly want that woman gone), we will REMOVE YOU.
Don’t test me. Don’t test the millions of mothers out there. When it comes to our kids, we don’t fuck around. You make it harder for my Henry to obtain a quality education? Well, I’d run if I were you. And don’t look back.