With Schools-as-Uber Analogy, Betsy DeVos Exposes Ignorance—Again

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has once again illustrated her limited understanding of—and respect for—public education, with another gaffe that’s drawing criticism from many corners.

During a speech at the nonprofit Brookings Institution on Wednesday, DeVos likened choosing a school to choosing a for-profit “ride-sharing service” like Uber or Lyft.

Watch below:

The problem is, wrote education historian and public schools advocate Diane Ravitch on Thursday: “Picking your mode [of] transportation is a consumer good that you pay for; public education is both a public good and a right.”

DeVos’ statement, Ravitch said, shows that “[s]he is clueless about the role of public education in a community and in a democracy.”

Likewise, Russ Whitehurst, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and moderator of the event, critiqued the analogy for Business Insider:

Furthermore, Whitehurst told Business Insider reporter Chris Weller, “If you pick a bad restaurant, you know it’s a bad restaurant pretty immediately. If you pick a bad school, you’re probably not in a position to know that until your child is failing at the next step.”

Others let the criticism (and jokes) fly online:

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