Thursday, January 12, 2017

Teachers unions try to derail DeVos, Trump’s education pick – People's World

Teachers unions try to derail DeVos, Trump’s education pick – People's World:

Teachers unions try to derail DeVos, Trump’s education pick

Saying Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee Betsy DeVos, a Michigan millionaire, hates public schools and teachers, the nation’s two big teachers unions launched a campaign to stop the Senate from confirming her to head the federal Education Department.
And the Senate’s most-prominent former teacher, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is skeptical about DeVos, too. Murray is the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will hold a Jan. 17 hearing on DeVos.
DeVos’ family became rich through Amway, a thinly veiled direct sales scheme which has been cited for paying new clients out of proceeds from old ones. She now runs other enterprises. She’s also a former chair of the Michigan GOP and a big party donor.
She’s better known in Michigan for fierce opposition to public schools, her campaign to get the GOP-run state government to eliminate teacher tenure and her advocacy of charter schools with no oversight and taxpayer-paid vouchers for parents of private school students.
That record prompted both American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, a high school history teacher from New York City, and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia, a pre-school teacher from Salt Lake City, to announce their unions’ strong opposition to DeVos.
Weingarten devoted much of a Jan. 9 wide-ranging speech on education policy to the DeVos nomination. Eskelsen-Garcia’s union has asked its 3.2 million members to call or e-mail their senators against DeVos. AFT has 1.6 million members.
DeVos “is the most anti-public education nominee for Secretary of Education in the history of the department and lacks the necessary qualifications and experience to be the nation’s top education official,” Weingarten said.
“DeVos hasn’t taught in a public school. She hasn’t served on a school board. She never attended public school — nor did she send her kids to one. She’s a lobbyist, not an educator.
“DeVos worked in Michigan to undermine public schools and to divide communities. And now she’s poised to swing her Michigan wrecking ball all across America.”
Besides the voucher schemes, Weingarten reminded her listeners that DeVos’ charter schools – unlike similar charter schools elsewhere – lack accountability. As a result, DeVos’ showcase charter school system, in financially troubled Detroit, produces worse education for the kids. And the Detroit system also lets failed charter schools open more schools, she said.
“What is the result of all this? Student performance has declined across Michigan. Nearly half of all its charter Teachers unions try to derail DeVos, Trump’s education pick – People's World:

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