BELLMORE, N.Y. – Teachers are mobilizing social media and letter writing campaigns against President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
The “Badass Teachers Association” – a group of about 80,000 radically far left educators – are applying a full-court press against DeVos’ Senate confirmation with a Twitter campaign on Dec. 1, and a letter writing campaign to federal lawmakers, according to the group’s Facebook page.
BATs are also circulating a MoveOn.org petition to present to the Senate Education Committee outlining their objections to the “devostation” of public education. The group, along with the nation’s teachers unions, view the wealthy philanthropist as the enemy because of DeVos’ long history of advocating for school choice, primarily through more charter schools and vouchers for private schools. School choice, of course, represents competition with the unionized government school monopoly and charter and private schools routinely outperform.
DeVos is also not an education bureaucrat, which teachers union officials and anti-choice crusaders believe is a critical component for a government appointment.
“Trump stated that she is ‘a brilliant and passionate education advocate,’ but her brand of passion is not that of preserving and protecting public education,” wrote a group protesting DeVos in St. Petersburg this week, according to Sunshine State News. “She has never attended a public school nor have her children. She has never worked in or for a public school, but has worked actively against them.”
“By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities,” said Lilly Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union.
Critics, of course, do not highlight DeVos’ work as the head of the American Federation for Children to promote educational choices, especially for low-income minority students. Nor do they discuss her work to secure scholarships for thousands of students or her influential involvement with education policy groups like Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which helped to bring a Tax Credit Scholarship program to the Sunshine State.
“Betsy DeVos is an outstanding pick for Secretary of Education,” Bush said. “She has a long and distinguished history championing the right of all parents to choose schools that best ensure their children’s success. Her allegiance is to families, particularly those struggling at the bottom of the economic ladder, not to an outdated public education model that has failed them from one generation to the next.”
Regardless, far-left educators in St. Petersburg plan to take to the streets in protest on Friday, according to a notice posted online. Teacher activists in other school districts are undoubtedly plotting similar action.
“Please share this event and invite your friends and family. We need to send a message that we do not approve of his staff choices thus far as he seems to normalize bigotry. For this protest, we specifically dissent against President Elect Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos,” the event page reads.
“Details for the march TBA in the coming days, but share this and invite everyone you know. This affects us all. #SaynottoBetsy #PreservePublicEducation. This will be a peaceful protest.”
So far, about 26,000 teachers have signed the MoveOn.org petition to the Senate Education Committee to block DeVos’ nomination.