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NEA president: Betsy DeVos is dangerously unqualified to serve as education secretary

Lily Eskelsen García: Senate should reject the Trump-DeVos education agenda


WASHINGTON - January 17, 2017 -

The National Education Association and its 3 million members strongly urge the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to reject Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“Educators believe America is a country where all children have the right to a public education that helps them reach their full potential. We know that their opportunity to succeed should not depend on living in the right ZIP code. Our public schools are open to all students no matter their backgrounds. And every student deserves the best this country can offer.

“Betsy DeVos, who has spent decades working to dismantle public education and privatize public schools, is dangerously unqualified and lacks the experience we should all demand in America’s secretary of education. If confirmed, she would become the first secretary of education with zero experience with public schools. She has never worked in a public school. She has never been a teacher, a school administrator, nor served on any public board of education. She didn’t even attend public schools or send her children to public schools. She is out of her league when it comes to knowing and doing what works for public school students.

“The job of the secretary of education is to support our students, especially the most vulnerable, to strengthen American’s public education system and to ensure equal access. The Trump-DeVos agenda is designed to undermine that mission and harm our students and public schools. As a lobbyist and political donor, DeVos has consistently and systematically opposed that mission. For decades, instead of supporting public schools, she has led efforts in her home state of Michigan and across the country to dismantle and privatize public education. She is a staunch advocate of giving taxpayer-funded vouchers, with no strings attached, to parents who send their children to private schools. She supports for-profit public charter schools while opposing policies to hold them accountable to taxpayers for their performance. In the end, unfortunately, it’s the students who pay the price for her failed policies.

“The Trump-DeVos agenda for public education is wrong for students and public schools. We urge the Senate committee in the strongest terms to reject Donald Trump’s nominee because she is unqualified and lacks the experience in public education that Americans expect from their secretary of education.”

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The National Education Association (nea.org) is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  202-822-7823, mgonzalez@nea.org