What You Missed: Betsy DeVos, Super Bowl Reflections, and More

In What You Missed, we round up the best stories for you to read on your evening commute.

The Senate today confirmed Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s pick for education secretary. 

But she wasn’t confirmed easily. The Senate landed at a 50-50 tie, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. 

DeVos has been a contentious nominee, not least of which because she has never worked in a school or school district. She’s also a staunch advocate for charter schools, but has repeatedly said she won’t dismantle the public school system, as she’s a firm believer in “school choice.”

Learn more about Betsy DeVos in this article from Newsweek.

A Look Back at Super Bowl LI

Sure it was an amazing game: The New England Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime — a first for the Super Bowl. And sure, the win solidified quarterback Tom Brady’s status as the greatest of all time

But the action wasn’t just on the field. Lady Gaga hit the stage (for free?) for a subtly political halftime show. The commercials, on the other hand, were overtly political, and, according to The Atlantic, a smart way to throw away $5 million. 

And, the Super Bowl marks the beginning of another important countdown: Baseball’s opening day is just 55 days away. 

What Book You Missed

Betsy DeVos’ controversial confirmation as education secretary — with Vice President Mike Pence weighing in as the tiebreaker — has been dominating headlines. DeVos will exercise a great deal of power over the public school system, which worries parents who cite her lack of experience and extreme wealth as barriers to understanding the average American’s concerns when it comes to school districting, school choice, and more. But, according to William Deresiewicz, a former Yale professor, that’s not all parents should be concerned about. 

Deresiewicz takes the current American schooling system to task for focusing more on creating conformists than on engendering independent thought, resulting in smart but aimless students. He highlights the cracks in our system and extrapolates ways we might fix them, making this a book everyone invested in creating a better system for our kids should read — including DeVos.