By Diamond Stocklin
Harold Washington students are worried that the new secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, will do damage to the public school system.
DeVos was sworn in as secretary of education Feb.7after a tie-breaker by Vice President Mike Pence; the first time in history a vice president had to be the deciding factor on a cabinet nominee.
Some accuse DeVos, a Republican, of having a minimal experience with public schools and as being an advocate for privatizing the public school system. Public school students say they feel alienated by DeVos and her opposition to the public school system.
As a public institution itself, HWC embodies former CPS students, many who are concerned for their future and the future of current CPS students.
HWC student, Norberto Cortez, who attended CPS for his entire academic career, spoke of the financial disadvantages CPS endured.
“We didn’t really have the best criteria, the best teachers and classes were normally overcrowded,” he said. Like other CPS students, Cortez had to acclimate himself in an educational environment that lacked beneficial resources due to a deficiency of proper disbursement of state funding.
Another HWC student, Veronica Díaz, expressed that she is disappointed and fearful of transferring to a larger four-year university due to financial instability. She also raised concerns for undocumented students who have difficulties receiving government assistance.
Recently, over 90 percent of Chicago Students are considered to be poor, according to Illinois’ Education Policy Report. School debt has also raised student concerns, as universities and colleges reported increases in their tuition due to administrative purposes. The average student loan debt per borrower for graduates from nonprofit and public schools is approximately $30,000, according to a report by the Institute for College Access and Success.