Latest News and Comment from Education

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Education Secretary Pick: From Betsy DeVos to Union Boss? | Politics | US News

Education Secretary Pick: From Betsy DeVos to Union Boss? | Politics | US News
Education Secretary Pick: From Betsy DeVos to Union Boss?
After more than a decade of playing defense, two prominent labor leaders stand poised to potentially be nominated education secretary.

THE REASON president-elect Joe Biden has for nominating as his education secretary the president or former president of one of the national teachers unions is as easy to understand as the reason he has for not doing that.

The next education secretary will have a monumental task at hand in getting more than 50 million children back in schools for in-person learning during a pandemic, and Biden needs someone with experience organizing and rallying millions, someone who already knows the mechanisms of Washington and the major players in Congress, as well as the state education chiefs and big-city superintendents.

Yet in a hyper-partisan political landscape, choosing a union boss risks sowing further division in the wake of the most divisive education secretary in the history of the Education Department – this from a president-elect who ran on the promise of restoring the soul of the nation and unifying the country and who won in part thanks to the teachers unions' powerful fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts

Betsy DeVos, Education Standards and Teachers: Editorial Cartoons on Education

As Biden ruminates over a deep field of contenders, two names continue resurfacing within education policy circles as legitimate front-runners: Lily Eskelsen García, who served as president of the 3 million-member National Education Association for nearly a decade before she stepped down earlier this year, and Randi Weingarten, the current president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers.

Both are political powerhouses in their own right, having steered their respective unions through a tumultuous time in K-12 education, including a brutal campaign by GOP governors to curb workers' rights and some detrimental Supreme Court decisions that resulted in dwindling membership and dues. And while staving off the Trump administration's pursuit of school choice and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' blistering criticism, which they returned in equal measure, they also managed to harness the power of their members to launch one of the most effective and successful educator movements of the 21st century – one that motivated millions of teachers to strike and hold sick-outs and walk-outs in dozens of cities and states across the country to demand better pay and more funding for nurses, social workers and librarians.

Now, after more than a decade of playing defense, Eskelsen García and Weingarten stand poised CONTINUE READING: Education Secretary Pick: From Betsy DeVos to Union Boss? | Politics | US News