Protesters Block Betsy DeVos From First Visit to Public School

Malcolm Fuller
February 13, 2017

Betsy DeVos, President Trump's nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education, would be a disaster for those public schools in North Dakota and across the country.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos encountered protesters Friday morning outside a D.C. middle school and found her way barred as she tried to enter through a side door, forcing her to retreat into a government vehicle as a man shouted "Shame!"

That DeVos' critics would react with horror because someone with wealth wants poor children to have the same opportunities she enjoyed says more about those critics than DeVos.

But the protesters at least made it clear that she isn't going to get her public school photo ops easily. Is this a sign that she's finally gotten over her aversion to public schools?

Betty Patterson, president of the National Education Association in New Mexico, said the union would gladly provide DeVos with a list of New Mexico schools "for un-rehearsed visits" should she come to the state. And that's a big problem for people who see the education secretary's primary role as managing public schools, which a majority of American students attend. She does not believe in the need for public education and wants to funnel money out of public schools and universities and into private and for-profit charter schools-efforts which she spearheaded in MI.

DeVos is an anti-secular theocrat with no experience working in public education.

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But former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who served under President Obama, tweeted, "Agree or disagree w Betsy DeVos on any issue, but let's all agree she really needs to be in public schools". She was joined there by D.C. schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson, who recently left the top job at Oakland Unified.

On the eve of his inauguration, then President-elect Donald Trump boasted to an attentive audience about his recent pick of Sonny Purdue for Secretary of Agriculture. According to Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press, Detroit now has the "largest urban network of charter schools" in the nation.

Collins and Murkowski said they feared her focus on charter schools will undermine remote public schools in their states.

North Dakota students, teachers, and parents deserve better.

Senator Tom Cotton feels secure in DeVos' vision for the country's education system though.

However, the Kansas Policy Institute said it is optimistic about DeVos. Wouldn't we be wanting her to learn? Doing so here would disproportionately harm students and teachers in rural communities. "Meanwhile, there are very good non-public schools, hanging on by a shoestring, that can begin taking students today".

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