Tuesday, January 17, 2017

RANDI WEINGARTEN: Betsy DeVos Is a Threat to America's Children | Advocate.com

Betsy DeVos Is a Threat to America's Children | Advocate.com:

Betsy DeVos Is a Threat to America's Children

Donald Trump’s Education secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos, is an antigay, anti-public education ideologue who poses a threat to the institution of public education and the safety of LGBTQ students.
For LGBTQ kids, school can sometimes be a really tough place to feel like they can be themselves, free from bullying and harassment. That’s why we have an obligation as educators, parents, allies, and lawmakers to do everything we can to ensure all kids feel safe, welcome, and supported in our public schools. We need an education secretary who values every child and who will fight alongside us to make our schools safe sanctuaries. Betsy DeVos is not that person.
DeVos has spent her career bankrolling efforts to undermine and privatize public schools, and members of her family have donated to antigay causes, making it harder to protect LGBTQ students from hate and bigotry. Civil rights groups have said they’re deeply concerned  that she will dismantle the civil rights protections gay and transgender students have finally won.
DeVos's family has a long record of opposing LGBT equality. Foundations run by her parents and her husband's parents have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Focus on the Family, a group that’s promoted damaging gay “conversion therapy” and called homosexuality “preventable and treatable.” A foundation run by her husband's brother and sister-in-law donated $500,000 to the antigay National Organization for Marriage, and a foundation run by DeVos and her husband has donated more than $100,000 to the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. DeVos's late father, Edgar Prince, helped found the Family Research Council; her mother, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, sits on the boards of the FRC and the Acton Institute, which sponsored a conference held by an antigay hate group. Unsurprisingly, DeVos wants to immediately reverse the Obama administration’s hard-won protections for LGBTQ students.
How are LGBTQ students supposed to feel safe and supported with an Education secretary who believes they should be sent to conversion therapy? DeVos’s nomination threatens to reverse the work that educators, partners, and the Obama administration have done to create welcoming and safe environments for transgender and gay students. A scion of Michigan’s moneyed class, she is far outside the policy mainstream in ways that pose an existential threat to kids' education and their safety.
DeVos’s education record is just as troubling. In 2000, DeVos and her husband funded a multimillion-dollar ballot initiative to create private school vouchers in Michigan. Voters rejected it by more than a 2-to-1 ratio. But she was able to push through a vast expansion of for-profit charter schools and has opposed any effort to make them accountable to the public. Charters, especially the for-profit version favored by DeVos, are far less likely to serve the needs Betsy DeVos Is a Threat to America's Children | Advocate.com:

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