In Hostages No More, former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provides a 10-chapter memoir in which she argues for school privatization, including the expansion of government funding of charter schools. DeVos argues that the modern public education system, supported by an “establishment” of government bureaucracies, the education industrial complex, and teacher unions, holds American children, especially poor Black and Hispanic children, “hostage” (DeVos, 2022, p. 261) and that her life’s work has been a civil rights struggle to help parents and their children obtain their “education freedom” (p. 216). However, many of her claims are supported with misleading information, and while DeVos provides a vision for American education that she claims will liberate our children, her plan contrarily works against that aim and is better characterized as a blueprint for undermining the institution that serves as the backbone of our democracy. This book review rebuts many of DeVos’s premises and argues that her vision of replacing traditional public schools with segregated charter schools run by outside private interests with little transparency and little accountability is not the direction we should turn for improving American education—it’s bad for our democracy, and it’s the wrong direction for America.
Liberating Children, or Breaking the Backbone of Our Democracy? A Book Review of Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child.
Democracy and Education,
(1), Article 7.
Available at: https://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol31/iss1/7