AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement in response to the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education:
DeVos' confirmation battle has a major silver lining: The public in public education has never been more visible or more vocal, and it is not going back in the shadows. This same public—from rural towns to urban centers, from liberals to conservatives—will now serve as a check and balance, and they will be fierce fighters on behalf of children. I am honored to be a soldier in that movement for children.
It's telling that even when [Donald] Trump had full control of the legislative and executive branches, he could only get DeVos confirmed by an unprecedented tiebreaking vote by his vice president. That’s because DeVos shows an antipathy for public schools; a full-throttled embrace of private, for-profit alternatives; and a lack of basic understanding of what children need to succeed in school.
If she wants to work with the educators who work hard every single day—in districts as diverse as McDowell County, W.Va., Detroit and Scarsdale, N.Y.—to provide children the opportunities they deserve, we renew our invitation to have her visit America’s public schools and see the strategies that work for kids.
But it’s more likely we’ll now hear the same trashing of public schools that the disrupters, the privatizers and the austerity hawks have used for the last two decades. That makes this a sad day for children.