Portland students protest DeVos, Trump's pick for education secretary
On the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration and amid anticipation of high-turnout protests in the coming days, Portland students took to the streets to decry Trump's pick for education secretary.
A group of Portland Public Schools students, known as Portland Student Action Network, organized an after-school march and rally in downtown against Betsy DeVos, a billionaire known for her advocacy to move money from public schools to private alternatives.
"DeVos has never attended or sent her kids to public school and has no experience as an educator. She is a corporate lobbyist who is unqualified to be Secretary of Education. We are urging U.S. Senators to vote against her confirmation and prevent long-term damage to millions of students," the Portland Student Action Network wrote on its Facebook page. "We instead call for a massive and equitable federal investment in public education that focuses on closing the opportunity gap and strengthens our public schools."
In a combative confirmation hearing the day before the Portland students' protest, DeVos refused to answer some questions from Democrats and indicated she didn't understand basic programs such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
"It's really scary to think about someone advocating for schools for white, privileged people," said Nika Bartoo-Smith, 17, a Grant High School student.
Bartoo-Smith marched while hoisting a sign that read, "Guns In School, Not Portland students protest DeVos, Trump's pick for education secretary | OregonLive.com: