With a U.S. Senate vote looming Tuesday, more than 1 million NEA members and public education supporters have emailed their senators to urge a “No” vote on Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos. Over 50,000 phone calls opposing the nomination have been received by members of Congress.
The Secretary of Education should be the nation’s leading advocate for public schools and the students who attend them—not their main antagonist. That calls for an agenda that provides resources for public schools to ensure all students have the tools and support for success.
People are concerned about DeVos’ complete lack of experience, unpreparedness for office and general hostility to public schools. She has devoted herself toward undermining public education by pushing unaccountable, for-profit charter schools and vouchers, which fund private school tuition at taxpayer expense.
Under unprecedented outreach by constituents, Democrats in the Senate are united in their opposition to DeVos; at least two Republican senators are opposing her as well.
This level of engagement and activism across the nation exemplify the concern not simply about DeVos, but about Trump’s extreme agenda for public education and how it would diminish the opportunities our students deserve.
Teacher activism in support of our public schools will continue whether or not DeVos is confirmed. Educators must stand up to an agenda that would keep public schools from providing early-learning opportunities, one-on-one attention, inviting classrooms, a well-rounded curriculum and community support services such as nutrition, health and after-school programs for students.