Friday, January 6, 2017

Small Local Group Uncovers Widespread Opposition to Confirmation of DeVos as U.S. Education Secretary | janresseger

Small Local Group Uncovers Widespread Opposition to Confirmation of DeVos as U.S. Education Secretary | janresseger:

Small Local Group Uncovers Widespread Opposition to Confirmation of DeVos as U.S. Education Secretary

On Tuesday, January 3, as everybody crawled out from under holiday cooking, gifting and celebrating, leaders of our local Heights Coalition for Public Education met to consider mounting some kind of local response to the existential threat of a Betsy DeVos-led U.S. Department of Education. President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy Devos alarms us because her only connection with public schools has been a lifelong commitment to using her billionaire philanthropy to privatize education. We’ve all personally sent letters or signed petitions to protest Trump’s nomination of Devos to be our next education secretary, and we looked for a way to expand our advocacy to include our broader community.
We crafted a sign-on letter for organizations and assigned different people to reach out to leaders they knew to see of their organizations would consider signing on. On Wednesday, we learned there was some time pressure: DeVos’s hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (Senate HELP) Committee had now been scheduled for January 11.
Everything sped up. When some organizations lacked a way to meet formally to consider our letter, they polled their members. People responded by telling leaders of their organizations their own stories and their concerns about the danger of losing democratically controlled public schools whose mission it is to serve all children.  One person complained: “Betsy DeVos has refused to pay a $5.3 million fine for campaign violations by her PAC in Ohio. She’s not only an anti-public education ideologue but also a scofflaw and a deadbeat to boot.” Another sent his dismay as a former longtime resident of Michigan: “Thanks for this letter. We spent most of our lives in Michigan and are very well acquainted with the anti-government, anti-public education beliefs and advocacy of Betsy DeVos.  Trump could not have picked a worse person to head public education in his administration.” As they rejected the idea of expanding a school choice marketplace, many declared their commitment to improving access and opportunity in our public schools.
We discovered this week that a mass of people from across our community, across Greater Small Local Group Uncovers Widespread Opposition to Confirmation of DeVos as U.S. Education Secretary | janresseger:
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