Teachers continue to dump criticisms on President-Elect Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, taking to Twitter and sticking it to national, state and local lawmakers urging them to oppose her nomination as the nation’s leader on public education.
As Sunshine State News previously reported, teachers have not been pleased with DeVos’ nomination to the position and this week, they used 21st-century technology to voice their concerns over the former Michigan Republican Party chair’s new appointment.
Many of the teachers joining in the protest have expressed deep concerns over DeVos shifting the focus of national education towards private and religious schools and away from public schools, where most of the country’s students are educated.
The Badass Teachers Association (BAT), which represents 80,000 teachers nationwide, also repeatedly attacked DeVos for having virtually no experience in the education sector -- DeVos’ background contrasts sharply with other past Secretaries of Education, many of whom served as superintendents or oversaw public school systems.
DeVos’ own children have also never attended a public school, which educators have said puts her out of touch with the needs of students.
“Trump picked a billionaire who doesn’t believe in public education to be in charge of education,” the BATs wrote.
Others said her lack of experience was alarming -- and a big no-no for someone trying to lead by example.
“Doesn't anyone think the Secretary of Education should actually know something about education?” asked Lauren Hopson of Tennessee.
Trump and education officials around the country have heaped praise on DeVos for her work to promote school choice and for her support of school choice, which often sends low-income children to private schools.
But many in DeVos’ home state of Michigan say her push for school choice has unfairly marginalized students and has had a negative impact on many students in Michigan’s public schools.
Over the last 15 years, the state of Michigan’s public school performance has actually declined, with many criticizing the push to put children in private and charter schools as part of the problem.
Protesters have taken it upon themselves to urge their congressmen and state senators to block DeVos’ nomination.
Some groups even planned physical protests against her appointment. In St. Petersburg, the protest was changed to a “call of actions” urging Tampa Bay teachers to write to their state representatives and legislators after a low number of RSVPs.
Some teachers pledged to join the fight at the local level to oppose DeVos’ appointment.
“Hearing what the group did in the 70s inspired me, so I am thinking I'm going to join so that I join the fight on a local governmental level,” wrote one teacher who attended a local NAACP chapter meeting.
Public educators agree DeVos, like Trump, is somewhat of an outsider, but the thought of that doesn’t sit well with them.
“Trump has in fact spat in the face of all who work tirelessly for the many children in public schools throughout the country by appointing someone with little regard for the work we do,” said BAT board member Gus Morales. “With this selection, Trump has revealed his true feelings and intentions when it comes to the students, families, and educators that comprise our Public Schools.”
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