Rough First Week Gives Betsy DeVos a Glimpse of the Fight Ahead
By the end of her first full week as the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos had already sparred with a middle school and a former schools chancellor in Washington, accused some of the school’s teachers of passively awaiting instruction and said she would be pleased if the department she currently runs did not exist in the future. She encountered an immediate display of the type of fierce resistance she will face as she tries to set new policies for the Education Department.
On Sunday, she received a somewhat warmer welcome from the New York City schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, who said in a radio interview that she was ready to work with Ms. DeVos. Even as she urged Ms. DeVos not to cut funding for the city’s public schools, Ms. Fariña said that despite their ideological differences, the two could make sure that children are properly educated. “I work with everyone,” Ms. Fariña said. “I will have conversations with anyone and everyone to ensure that the work we’re doing here is being celebrated and recognized, and we’ll see what time will bring.”
In interviews with two online news organizations, Ms. DeVos began laying the groundwork for her approach. “It would be fine with me to have myself worked out of a job,” she told Axios, adding that she expects there will be more public charter schools, private schools and virtual schools under her leadership. She told Townhall, a conservative outlet, that she doubted the validity of the demonstrations against her and that her critics and protesters wanted to make her life “a living hell.”
“I don’t think most of those are spontaneous, genuine protests,” she said. “I think they’re all being sponsored and very carefully planned.”
She said in the Townhall interview that she planned to focus on rolling out the Every Student Succeeds Act, a policy signed into law by President Barack Obama, while also pushing for controversial school choice policies like voucher programs.
It was her visit to Jefferson Middle School Academy in Washington, where protesters briefly blocked her from entering, that set off several days of online bickering. After speaking to teachers at the school, she called the visit “wonderful,” only to tell Townhall that she saw problems with the teachers.
“I visited a school on Friday and met with some wonderful, genuine, sincere teachers who pour their heart and soul into their classrooms and their students,” Ms. DeVos said. “But I can tell the attitude is more of a ‘receive mode.’ They’re waiting to be told what they have to do, and that’s not going to bring success to an individual child.”
The school posted 11 tweets in rapid succession defending its teachers, saying of Ms. DeVos, “We’re about to take her to school.”
The school said that one of the classrooms Ms. DeVos visited was led by two teachers who serve students whose reading levels range from first grade to eighth grade, and who “maintain a positive classroom environment focused on rigorous content, humor and love.”Rough First Week Gives Betsy DeVos a Glimpse of the Fight Ahead - The New York Times:
Big Education Ape: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' Very Busy First Week - Illustrated - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2017/02/us-secretary-of-education-betsy-devos_18.html