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NEA: more than one million letters emailed to U.S. Senate in opposition to Betsy DeVos

Public outcry over controversial pick reaches unprecedented levels


WASHINGTON - January 27, 2017 -

Washington—The public outcry over Donald Trump’s pick to head the federal department of education reached an unprecedented milestone. Educators, parents, students and public education advocates have emailed more than 1 million letters to the U.S. Senate urging senators to vote no on Betsy DeVos to become secretary of education. In addition, they have made more than 40,000 telephone calls. One Facebook post alone generated one million views in a single day.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“In my years as a public education advocate, I have never witnessed this level of public outcry. Clearly Betsy DeVos’ nomination—as unqualified and as unprepared as she is—has touched a raw nerve not only with public education advocates like me but with the general public as well.

“What happened? The senate confirmation hearing happened. Educators spearheaded the effort to unmask Betsy DeVos. Now, Americans from all walks of life are honestly alarmed, and rightly so, by Betsy DeVos and are shocked to the core by what they witnessed during her confirmation hearing.

“If confirmed, DeVos would become the first secretary of education with zero experience with public schools. She’s never worked in a public school. She’s never been a teacher, a school administrator, nor served on any public board of education.

“Her abysmal performance during the hearing lifted the secrecy veil she had been hiding under as a major political donor and lobbyist: she is dangerously unqualified to serve as America’s education secretary.

“Alarms should go off that the public is not mincing words: they are soundly rejecting her nomination. The Senate should heed this warning. We need an experienced, qualified secretary of education who actually wants to strengthen and improve all public schools, not tear down, dismantle and privatize them.”

Major milestones:
Nov. 23: Donald Trump picks Betsy DeVos as his nomination for secretary of education
Dec. 12: Educators launch a petition sounding the alarm about Betsy DeVos and urging the public to call the Senate to reject her nomination. Within days, the petition had garnered more than 150,000 signatures.
Jan. 17: Betsy DeVos appears before Senate HELP Committee. Within hours, she’s become an internet meme.
Jan. 23: Facebook post regarding rescheduling a vote on DeVos reaches one million people in a single day
Jan. 24: Facebook video urging the public to call their senators in opposition to DeVos reaches one million viewers
Jan. 25: Public education advocates, students, educators, parents, reach 1,000,000 emailed letters to senators, and generate almost 40,000 telephone calls.

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The National Education Association (www.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