Friday, February 3, 2017

The popular uprising that threatens the Betsy DeVos nomination - The Washington Post

The popular uprising that threatens the Betsy DeVos nomination - The Washington Post:

The popular uprising that threatens the Betsy DeVos nomination

People listen to speakers during a rally in Portland, Ore., on Jan. 27. Several hundred people gathered with Oregon congressional leaders in protest against education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. (Don Ryan/AP)

If anyone can explain why Betsy DeVos has become the most embattled nominee ever for education secretary, it’s Anna Caudill, Tennessee mother of two.
Caudill has a son with disabilities. Her public school district did such a poor job educating him, she says, that she is suing in federal court. She can’t afford a private school, so she is home-schooling him. She’s exactly the kind of parent who would seem aligned with DeVos, who believes in using public funds to help parents pay for private education.
But Caudill strongly opposes DeVos.
“Vouchers don’t come with any oversight of the schools in which they’re spent,” Caudill said. “They put the parent in the position of trading a child’s civil rights for money.”
This 44-year-old is part of the small army of parents, teachers and others around the country who have risen up against DeVos as President Trump’s nominee heads toward a breathtakingly close confirmation vote. They come from places as diverse as rural Alaska, inner-city Detroit and — like Caudill — suburban Nashville.
They have held protests and clogged Senate phone lines with calls to send a message: They don’t want an education secretary who preaches escape from public schools. They want one who understands public schools and will work to improve them.
On Friday, the Republican-led Senate advanced the nomination toward final action, likely next week, that could result in a 50-50 split. That would force Vice President Pence to cast a rare tiebreaking vote.
Republicans say opposition to DeVos is the work of teachers unions and their toadies in the Democratic Party.
“Organized labor is pulling out all the stops in a last-ditch effort to resist accountability and deny equal educational opportunity to poor families, minorities and underrepresented communities,” said Ed Patru, spokesman for a group called Friends of Betsy DeVos.
It is true that unions have mobilized against DeVos, spreading the message that she is an enemy of public schools. But many others have joined the opposition.The popular uprising that threatens the Betsy DeVos nomination - The Washington Post:


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