Secretary of Education Locks Out Students, Parents and Teachers

Last Updated : Sat 10th February 2018 03:53pm

From Randy Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers (edited to remove links):

We went to the Department of Education yesterday to deliver our 80,000 #comments4betsy, but, despite the fact we had asked for an appointment and informed her staff of our purpose well in advance, DeVos locked the door on us and left us standing in the cold.

She locked out the people who teach in, learn in and send their kids to public schools—the schools that 90 percent of America’s children attend. By the way, when DeVos became secretary of education, she took an oath to help the students in those public schools.

Given that DeVos has managed to visit only 18 public schools in her tenure, three of which she visited with me in Van Wert, Ohio, we thought it was important to bring public schools to her—so she could see the great work that makes us “public school proud” and understand the needs and challenges that the federal government should be helping us solve.

Yesterday, DeVos chose to lock us out—parents, students and educators, and their unions. She not only refused to read the feedback (we had it on a flash drive for easy reading) or respond to it, she refused to even accept the comments.

What is Betsy DeVos afraid of?

Education Secretary DeVos spends a lot of time listening to pollsters and profiteers who are trying to soften her image and make money off kids and public schools, but she refuses to listen to students, parents and educators. When we came to the Department of Education to tell DeVos about what is happening in our public schools, she locked us out.

In all of my years as president of the AFT, I’ve never seen anything like it. We had fierce debates with the education department when George W. Bush was president and when Barack Obama was president, but the doors to the department have never been barred to prevent me, an educator, from entering. Indeed, Peter Cunningham, the former PR director for Arne Duncan, tweeted today that, no, their education department would never have done this.

When the doors were locked, we thought we must have gone to the wrong entrance. We tried another set of doors and were told through the glass to go away. This really is a new low for Betsy DeVos and her disrespect for educators, parents and the public school community.

Since DeVos seems very concerned about her desire to have a softer public image, let’s make sure people know what her real attitude is toward the 80,000 parents and educators who took the time to give her feedback.