Friday, February 10, 2017

Prominent DeVos critics urge protesters: Don’t block her way into public schools. She needs to see them. - The Washington Post

Prominent DeVos critics urge protesters: Don’t block her way into public schools. She needs to see them. - The Washington Post:

Prominent DeVos critics urge protesters: Don’t block her way into public schools. She needs to see them

With dozens of protesters standing at the front of Jefferson Academy in Washington, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tried to enter a side door of the school but was blocked Friday by a few people who held signs and shouted, “Shame, shame.”
Along with the protesters outside, some staff members at Jefferson were none too happy about the DeVos visit, wearing black in protest and saying they didn’t want their students used as a photo opportunity for the controversial secretary.
DeVos was confirmed Tuesday in the Senate after Mike Pence became the first vice president ever to break a tie for a Cabinet nominee. She is the most polarizing education secretary in history because of the deep divide in philosophy about public education between her supporters and her critics. Her backers see her as a champion of school choice and alternatives to traditional public schools, while opponents say her decades of advocacy work show that she wants to privatize the public education system.
After her entrance to Jefferson was blocked — she did eventually make it in another way — some public figures who have been among her biggest critics urged that she be let into public schools. Why? Because they say DeVos needs to see how they work.
Former education secretary Arne Duncan, who tweeted thanks to two Republican senators who split with their party to vote against DeVos’s confirmation, tweeted this Friday:
Agree or disagree w @BetsyDeVos on any issue, but let's all agree she really needs to be in public schools. Please let her in.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who has called DeVos “the most ideological, anti-public education nominee” ever, praised the protesters but also tweeted:
Just heard a protester blocked & almost knocked Secy @BetsyDeVos down at Jefferson.We don't condone such acts.We want her to go to pub schls
And Diane Ravitch, the education historian and public schools advocate who years ago became the titular leader of the anti-corporate school reform movement, and who recently wrote that DeVos is an education “extremist” who is “hostile” to public schools, wrote this on her blog:

Protestors blocked Betsy DeVos from entering a public middle school in DC.
I have mixed feelings about this.
On one hand, I was thinking of planning a “Betsy, bar the door” campaign, 
Prominent DeVos critics urge protesters: Don’t block her way into public schools. She needs to see them. - The Washington Post:

Reader Comments: 

Elizabeth Davis

30 minutes ago  -  Shared publicly
Although the Washington Teachers’ Union was opposed to Secretary DeVos’s nomination, we will not be there to protest her visit to Jefferson Academy. The intent of today’s vigil is to make it clear to Secretary DeVos that we support strong, walkable, public community schools of right in every zip code of our city.
We support public schools because most of the alternatives lead to separate and unequal educational opportunities for our children, or they privatize school operations and undermine local control and accountability for all of our publicly funded schools.

We support free public schools because they are open and available to every child regardless of income, ability, need, English language proficiency, or racial and ethnic identity.The WTU and parents believe that public education is the cornerstone of our American democracy. Public schools prepare the nation’s young people—rich, poor, native- and foreign-born, and of all abilities—to contribute to our nation’s society, economy and civic life.

We support public schools because they are the anchors of our neighborhoods and are accountable to local officials we elect right here in the District of Columbia. Hopefully, Secretary DeVos’s visit to Jefferson Academy will help her to understand the need for us to support and fund our public schools. Once she spends some time with our children and their teachers, she might understand why we support our public schools.

Based on comments Secretary DeVos made during her nomination hearing, her lack of knowledge about the IDEA Federal law, we understand the concerns that teachers, parents and students are feeling about her visit and appointed position as Education Secretary. Like other parents, students and teachers across the District, we love our public schools and will fight to support and save them, as the quality schools we want them to be.

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