PAA to Senate HELP committee: Vote NO on DeVos

PAA faxed the following to all members of the Senate HELP committee today:

Parent Voices Education Fax

January 13, 2017

Parents ask for “No” vote on DeVos nomination

We write to ask you to vote “no” on the appointment of Betsy DeVos for US Secretary of Education. Our request is based in large part on clear differences between her education agenda and what Parents Across America believes our children and schools actually need to succeed. We also base our opposition on the insights into Mrs. DeVos’s agenda and activities in Michigan shared by our local affiliate. These experiences raise an alarm and deserve the attention of this Committee.

In the experience of Michigan Parents for Schools, Mrs. DeVos has acted in that state as though her considerable financial resources buy her the right to have elected officials follow her agenda and enact her vision for public education. For example, she successfully opposed efforts to hold charter schools accountable, despite the well-reported financial and other problems that have plagued Michigan’s chaotic charter school system. In your hearing, we suggest that you ask her to explain how her position aligns with the responsible stewardship of public education funds (see, for example, “Michigan spends $1B on charter schools but fails to hold them accountable,” Detroit Free Press, 6/22/16).

MIPFS reports that Mrs. DeVos believes K-12 education should be provided by private entities, because “government” cannot be trusted. We disagree, believing that the communities which built and have supported our local public schools over generations (i.e. local government) should have the authority over and be held accountable for running those schools in the best interests of the community. We believe that no one should profit off of our children, and that public money should be used entirely for their benefit, not to enrich private businesses. Mrs. DeVos has lobbied for vouchers for years, including unsuccessful efforts to convince Michigan voters to lift the state constitutional ban on use of public education funds to benefit private and religious schools. The people of Michigan have said no to her privatization agenda time and again, but Mrs. DeVos has refused to hear them. We do not imagine that things would be any different if she were confirmed to lead the US Department of Education. In next week’s hearing, we suggest that you ask her to explain how her pro-voucher position aligns with the democratic purposes of education.

Please listen to the experience of Michigan parents and to the concerns and wisdom of active public school parents around the nation, who urge you to vote “no” on the Betsy DeVos nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education.

Parents Across America is a national network of grass-roots parents from all backgrounds across the U.S.

who support quality public education for every child.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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