Bookends for the school to prison pipeline, or DeVos and Sessions are poison

If I am to be honest, almost all of Donald Trump’s picks for his main minions (cabinet positions and such) I find horrifying.

It started, of course, with Steve Bannon as chief strategist and possibly as a top member of the National Security Council (though apparently the law and tradition might have something to say about that latter thing), a man who looks like he loves his booze as much as he loves white supremacy, racism, misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. And that’s saying a lot.

But aside from having a Nazi kind of guy advising the president and apparently writing a lot of his executive orders and, apparently, kind of doing much of the president’s other work, my two biggest concerns are two recently confirmed Cabinet members: Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions.

The Secretary of Education and the U.S. Attorney General.

The soon-to-be Wonder Twins of the school-to-prison pipeline.

Students of color are among the most vulnerable to being shunted into the criminal justice system at a young age. In fact, studies show that student of color are unfairly targeted for all kinds of disciplinary action, out of proportion to white students (even white students who commit the same, similar or worse offenses).

And with this already the situation, what do we face now?

A Secretary of Education (DeVos) who has never been to public school, never taught or administered at one, and never sent her kids to one. A woman who champions charter schools and likes more religion mixed in with education. The kind of woman who, when she hears about failing schools in predominantly non-white areas, most likely blames the parents and the kids rather than society’s (and government’s) failure to preserve and nurture public education. She sees privatization as the answer. Yes, and privatization of the prison system has worked so well, hasn’t it? We now have a higher rate of our population imprisoned than any other nation on Earth. Except that unlike that prison example, I don’t see privatization of schools leading to more students; it will lead to costs and profits being of higher importance than educating our kids.

And on the other end, what do we face with our Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the nation? Jeff Sessions, a man who in the 1980s was deemed too racist to be a judge. He was too racist in 1986. The ‘80s. A time when America had in the theaters the movie “Soul Man” was really keen on putting Black people in prison in droves because of crack cocaine use. And I haven’t seen anything about Sessions that shows me he has turned over any kind of leaf and embraced racial equity or racial justice.

So, what do I foresee? An Education Secretary who will likely gut our public schools and likely support any efforts to increase disciplinary action against students in “troubled” schools (which I’m sure will rarely be the mostly white ones), which will likely become more troubled because of her policies. And then the KKK Keebler Elf-looking Sessions will be ready with a tough “law and order” approach for the nation that will lock people up more (especially if they aren’t white) and stop giving much of a care to issues like civil rights.

The school-to-prison pipeline seems to be very much on track. Truth is, it never stopped flowing and it’s always been well maintained. But I think the capacity is about to increase.
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