by Brian Washington
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One would think the U.S Secretary of Education would have a vested interest in making sure our public schools—which serve about 90 percent of the nation’s students—are adequately resourced and funded to ensure a quality education for all students.
However, instead, we have an education secretary who has no experience in public education, is totally in over her head when it comes to her new job, and is convinced that public schools and the people who work in them are the enemies to a quality education.
That’s essentially the message Betsy DeVos was spreading recently during her “Rethink School” tour, which hit six states—Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Indiana. DeVos mainly visited charter schools as well as private and religious schools and spent most of her time slamming public education.
If you’re a regular Education Votes reader, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise. DeVos has been referred to as a “general” in the army of profiteers looking to cash in on public education. She and President Trump submitted a budget proposal to Congress that contained a billion-dollar, national voucher scheme. Vouchers, which are often referred to as tuition tax credits and education savings accounts, drain scarce resources away from public schools to subsidize the private school tuition of a small few.
The good news is pro-public education activists are not fooled and know all about what DeVos is up to, as evidenced by some of the comments made when we asked them what they thought about her tour. Here’s some of what they had to say:
“How about we rethink who should be secretary of education? Maybe someone with experience?”—Phil Hays
“She is plainly an enemy of public education. She simply wants to tear it down without introducing reforms that would help it.” –Jerry Dion
“She is a rich, entitled woman who knows nothing about public education.” – Austin Buchannan.
“This lady knowns nothing about schools (and has) no business telling how to run them. She bought the job and everyone knows it.” –Jane Sentelle“
“I can’t count the number of times that I have expressed the idea that DeVos isn’t qualified to be education secretary. She has money coupled with the idea that public education is ‘bad’ for children. She doesn’t tell you how much money charters and voucher schools take from public education.” – Trish Rovig
“I would like to personally invite Betsy to our very public school and (let her) see how we serve all students with the goal of meeting each one of their individual needs.” –Sherri Bean
“She should visit the public schools that are making a difference, using differentiated instructional methods, innovative technology integration and various ways to support students from both academic and social-emotional learning.” – Bruce Rhodes
Unlike DeVos, educators know if we’re going to get serious about every child’s future, we have to resource our neighborhood public schools to ensure they have the following:
- Inviting classrooms;
- A well-rounded curriculum;
- Class-sizes that are small enough for one-on-one attention; and
- Support services such as health care, nutrition, and after school programs for students who need them.
TAKE ACTION: What can you do to stop the DeVos privatization agenda? Contact your lawmakers in Congress and urge them not to divert billions of dollars into vouchers or other privatization schemes. Let them know that the nation’s public schools need their support and are the best chance for all students to get a quality education.