Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Betsy DeVos Would Dismantle Public Schools

By nominating Betsy DeVos for secretary of education, Donald Trump has shown he is serious about decimating public education.

For the last 30 years, DeVos has spent millions of her family fortune on a destructive mission to destroy public education and lobby for using taxpayer dollars for unregulated vouchers and for-profit charters without regard to quality. And just this morning, the Wall Street Journal broke news that the DeVos family is involved in a hedge fund that is making money off federal student loan debt.

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and I have sent an open letter demanding that our secretary of education and every elected official respect and uphold the American vision of high-quality public schools for every single student.

We need your support. Add your name to the open letter right now.

It’s not surprising that Trump and DeVos, both billionaires who never attended or sent their children to public schools, fail to understand the importance of public education in fostering pluralism and opportunity—but it is deeply troubling.

Our public schools are the way the United States fulfills a collective promise: to take and teach every child seeking an education. Public education isn’t a partisan issue; 90 percent of American children attend public schools, and they deserve leaders who will strengthen those schools, not destabilize or defund them.

Sign this open letter demanding better for our children.
In 2000, DeVos and her husband bankrolled a multimillion-dollar ballot initiative to create school vouchers in Michigan, and voters overwhelmingly shot it down. DeVos then shifted her focus to the expansion of publicly funded but privately run charter schools.
Her push—and deep pockets—has resulted in an explosion in the number of for-profit charters in her home state, which now has the most in the nation. As a result, a yearlong investigation into two decades of charter school records was conducted, bringing to light the consequences of Michigan charter schools’ lack of oversight, transparency and accountability. And last spring, the DeVos family funded efforts to defeat a bill that would have placed both Detroit’s charter schools and its neighborhood public schools under the same oversight authority.
During his campaign, Trump proposed a $20 billion voucher plan to shift taxpayer dollars to private and religious schools. With DeVos at his side, this could easily become a reality. 

Stand up to Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos—and for public education—by adding your name to the open letter.

America has always prided itself on its promise to provide a high-quality public education to all students, regardless of where they live. We must reclaim that promise and stand up to those who wish to dismantle public education, which we have worked so hard to advance.

Start by adding your name to this open letter.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President
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