PAAer letter to Salt Lake Tribune on DeVos visit

US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was recently in Salt Lake City speaking at a $3000 per person event. Here’s a highlight of her speech, which clearly indicates DeVos’s limited understanding of the value and role of public education:

“The simple fact is that if a school is not meeting a child’s unique needs, then that school is failing that child. Think of it like your cell phone. AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile may all have great networks, but if you can’t get cell phone service in your living room, then your particular provider is failing you, and you should have the option to find a network that does work.”

PAA interim executive director wrote this letter in response to the Salt Lake City Tribune’s coverage:

By comparing public schools to cell phone networks, easily switched when “failing” the consumer, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos cemented another brick in her reputation as the most out-of-touch federal education head ever.

Ms. DeVos speech glorified privatization as the answer to all education challenges, ignoring the fact that charter and voucher schools show little academic advancement compared with traditional schools.

Ms. DeVos continues to show her poor grasp of the basics of public education. She fails to understand that investing in education is the best possible use of our nation’s wealth, and essential to the democratic ideal of equal access for all to quality public schools. She’s clearly unaware that our communities need the glue of neighborhood schools to be safe and thriving. She wrongly thinks that parents care most about having a choice of schools, when most parents really want a well-resourced public school close to home. Unfortunately, our freedom to make this choice diminishes as privatization gobbles up school funds, forces closure of some neighborhood schools, and exchanges reasonable class sizes for bulging computer labs or isolating online courses.

We need a champion of public schools in the department of education, not a wealthy ideologue.

If she shows up in your town, please consider writing a similar letter!

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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