DeVos reveals chat with fiercely critical teachers union president
OXON HILL, Md. — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos revealed Thursday that she had a “great” peacemaking conversation with one of her fiercest opponents, national teachers union president Randi Weingarten.
DeVos said she called Weingarten after her confirmation and they agreed to tour two schools together — one a traditional public school that Weingarten will choose and another selected by DeVos.
“I had a great conversation with Randi. I think it’s imperative that we work together to find common ground,” DeVos told the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“If students represent 100 percent of our future, we need to be focused on what’s right for them.”
Teachers unions and Democratic activists strongly opposed DeVos’ nomination, charging that she would undermine public education in efforts to implement school choice policies.
Weingarten was among her harshest foes.
“The president-elect, in his selection of Betsy DeVos, has chosen the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a cabinet-level Department of Education,” Weingarten said when DeVos was nominated.
On Thursday, Weingarten responded to DeVos’ speech by retweeting a quote from Todd Mann, head of the public Magnet Schools of America: “It is absolutely imperative that our Secretary of Education understands [public schools].”
At the conservative conference outside Washington, DeVos also defended rescinding the federal transgender bathroom directive, saying the protections were a “very huge example of the Obama administration’s overreach.”
She argued that transgender issues are “best dealt with and solved at a personal level and a local level.”
While she and DeVos may have found some common ground, Weingarten didn’t hold back her frustration with DeVos’ transgender stance. “When did protecting children & their safety become over-reach,” she tweeted.
DeVos maintained that the federal government’s role in education should be as “light a touch as possible,” except for civil rights and special education obligations.
During her CPAC appearance, DeVos called for school choice policies and more conservative activism on college campuses.
She also spoke about the need for conservative voices to be heard on college campuses and told students: “Don’t shut up.”
“The fight against the education establishment extends to you too,” DeVos said.
“The faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think. They say that if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community. But the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree.”DeVos reveals chat with fiercely critical teachers union president | New York Post: