January 24, 2017
Oppose Confirmation of Unqualified Nominee Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary
DeVos is Clearly Unqualified – Betsy DeVos, a voucher and charter school promoter, has absolutely no experience with public education and is one of the most unqualified candidates to be picked by the incoming Trump administration. A billionaire, DeVos has spent millions to promote vouchers using taxpayer funds which often end up supporting religiously-affiliated schools, unaccountable charter and online schools. The billions of public dollars that now flow to these private, religious and even for-profit entities deprive local public schools of critically needed finances.
Charter Schools Unaccountable – Numerous studies have shown that, in general, taxpayer-funded, voucher-supported charter schools do not improve student outcomes as compared to similar public schools. Additionally, these schools do not have to comply with certain state and federal laws and students are not covered by the same protections that public school students are provided. Voucher-supported schools are not financially and administratively accountable to the public; lack of transparency and fiscal mismanagement characterize many voucher-supported schools in various states.
Michigan Student Achievement Declines – In Michigan where charter schools abound – thanks to the DeVos family – the state sends $1 billion in education funding each year to charter schools; 80 percent of charters are for-profit operations. Over the last two decades Michigan’s rank has fallen on national reading and math tests and most charter schools perform below average. A 2015 federal review found “an unreasonably high” percentage of charter schools on Michigan’s list of lowest-performing schools.
DeVos Wants to “Advance” God’s Kingdom in Schools – DeVos’ family has contributed more than $200 million to the Republican Party and $47 million to politicians committed to undermining public schools, including campaign contributions to Republican senators considering her nomination. A religious fundamentalist, DeVos has said that her work is a way to “advance God’s kingdom” and, if confirmed, will help Donald Trump carry out a promise to send $20 billion of taxpayer funds to unaccountable voucher-supported schools.
Hearings Demonstrated DeVos’ Lack of Understanding – During the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearings, Ms. DeVos consistently demonstrated her lack of understanding of such important programs as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Title IX equal education protections and enforcement of policies related to sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus, as overseen by the Office for Civil Rights. When asked if she would commit to upholding the Department’s guidance on Title IX as it relates to sexual assault, DeVos would not commit to doing so at this time.
Please use the formatted message (or write one of your own) in this action alert to urge senators to oppose the confirmation of Department of Education (DoED) secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos.
This article has been reposted with permission. Kathryn Mitchell, NOWPAC.firstname.lastname@example.org
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