Betsy DeVos Uses a Willing Public School Superintendent as a Privatization Prop
On March 13, 2017, US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tried to sell her interest in public schools. However, even as she spoke to the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS), a coalition comprised of 69 urban public school districts, DeVos could not help trying to sell school choice.
Most of her 12-minute speech focused on her established, school choice bent couched in that seemingly-benign, parent-empowerment, for-the-children language that leaves her audience with the unsettling feeling that even though DeVos tried at moments to sound supportive of public schools, her support is suspiciously qualified:
And one of those quality options should be a great public school. I’ve said this before, and it bears repeating: I support great public schools, and I support great public school teachers—because I support students—all students.
DeVos supports *great public schools,* and we know it’s true because she says so today.
But DeVos also has a public school superintendent as a fan, and she was willing to throw that name out there to her audience of urban public school superintendents:
For years, I mentored at-risk girls who were attending an urban public school in Grand Rapids. I’ve witnessed the impact one person can have on a child’s life, and I’ve seen the changes in a community when it chooses—often through local initiatives that include public and private partnerships—to come together and invest in the rising generation.This is what motivated me to develop a friendship and relationship with Teresa Weatherall Neal, the superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools.I have supported and continue to support her work to transform Grand Rapids Public Schools to better serve the students of Grand Rapids.
DeVos referenced her mentoring at a “public school” during her January 17, 2017, confirmation hearing. Neither then nor in her CGCS speech has she divulged the name of that school. She has also not disclosed just how much time, exactly, she spent “mentoring,” or what, exactly she means by the term.
Before her CGCS audience, she brushes past such details and proceeds to name-Betsy DeVos Uses a Willing Public School Superintendent as a Privatization Prop | deutsch29: