Union leader sees Ohio school visit with Betsy DeVos as a lesson for U.S. education secretary
This should be interesting.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten says she views her Ohio school visit alongside Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday as a lesson for DeVos on the virtues of traditional public education. Whether DeVos will appreciate being cast as a student of the teachers-union chief remains to be seen.
Weingarten, head of one of the largest U.S. labor organizations and a strong critic of the education secretary, recently invited DeVos to tour schools with her.
DeVos agreed to visit a traditional public school with Weingarten, who chose to take the education secretary to the small, rural Van Wert school district in Ohio, where about half of the students come from high-poverty neighborhoods. Weingarten wrote in an op-ed that just ran in a local newspaper in Van Wert that she sees the district as a model for others trying to improve:
The hallmarks of successful public schools (and systems) include four essential strategies: promoting children’s well-being, engaging in powerful learning, building teacher and principal capacity, and fostering cultures of collaboration. Van Wert puts these four pillars into practice.
The op-ed included other things too, such as direct criticism of DeVos and her approach to her job.
DeVos is a big supporter of charter and private schools, and in a 2015 speech called traditional public school districts a “dead end.” She has characterized the U.S. public education system — which some people consider the most important civic institution in the country — as a monopoly. Weingarten worked against the Senate confirmation of DeVos as education secretary, which was secured only after Mike Pence became the first vice president in U.S. history to break a tie for a Cabinet nominee.
Weingarten criticized DeVos in the op-ed (which I have permission to publish):