01/18/2017

Detroiters make the case against DeVos

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Stopping the Betsy DeVos nomination for education secretary will not be easy in the current Senate, but friends of public education are girded for the challenge. A day after DeVos' confirmation hearing before the Senate education committee, Detroit parents, students and educators who had traveled to Washington, D.C., for the event held a Capitol Hill press conference to show they were determined to stop DeVos and a destructive agenda they had experienced first-hand. They were joined at the press conference by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

Tashune Harden at press conference

Tashaune Harden (pictured above), a science teacher and a union leader at a Detroit charter school, was one of the featured speakers. She told the media how DeVos' reckless lobbying for the for-profit charter school industry in her state had put public education at risk and placed profits above the support that both students and faculty deserve in schools.

"Our schools in Detroit are not failing by accident," Harden said. By design, DeVos was fomenting a "culture of instability" throughout the system, which was a threat to traditional and charter schools alike. Read more in Harden's post on AFT Schoolhouse Voices.

"It is absolutely critical that your voices be heard in this process," Harden told the press conference audience. Tell your senators that you demand an education secretary who will support and strengthen public education.

[Mike Rose]