Seattle Educators Ready For DeVos

32958714442_eece84dff1_z

By Staff of Diane Ravitch – My name is Jesse Hagopian and I teach ethnic studies at Seattle’s Garfield High School. I hope you didn’t just stop reading this letter after you heard the subject I am teaching—I urge you to keep reading. I am writing in regards to the Washington Policy Center’s $350-a-person fundraising dinner you will be addressing on October 13 at the Hyatt Regency in the nearby city of Bellevue. Thousands of my colleagues and I will surround the building to make sure the world knows your message of division is not welcome here. Given the recent protests of your speeches at Harvard, at historically black Bethune-Cookman University, and many other places, you must be getting used to this by now. But just so there are no surprises, let me tell you what to expect. There will be bull horns, signs, speeches, and I bet some of the more creative teachers—perhaps the few art teachers your proposed budget hasn’t cut yet—will show up in grizzly bear costumes, referencing the asinine comment you made defending the use of guns in schools to “protect from potential grizzlies.” There will be students there questioning your qualifications to serve as Secretary of Education, given that they have more experience with the public schools than you. They might point out that you never attended public schools and neither did any of your four children.

Protesters Confront Betsy DeVos At The Harvard Kennedy School

betsy-devos-harvard-1

By Spencer Buell for Boston Daily – Protesters, some standing with their fists in the air and waving signs that included the words “white supremacist,” swarmed to greet Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Thursday night at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. DeVos, despised by advocates for public schools and victims of on-campus sexual assault, was there to give a talk about her pro-“school choice” views on education. As she has done since her appointment to the position by the Trump administration, DeVos in her speech argued for the promotion of alternatives to public schools, advocating for policies that would give parents the option to send their kids to privately-run charter schools, diverting funding from public schools pay for it. “I came into office with a core belief: it is the inalienable right and responsibility of parents to choose the learning environment that best meets their child’s unique, individual needs,” she said, according to prepared remarks provided by the Department of the Education. “Now, I’ve been called the ‘school choice Secretary’ by some,” she continued, “I think it’s meant as an insult, but I wear it as a badge of honor!” During the speech, video taken at the event shows a pair of students standing up silently in their chairs and unfurling a pair of signs. One read “white supremacist” in all-caps. The other read “Our students are not 4 sale.” Dozens more students stood silently in the hall, also brandishing signs.

UB Students Protest Commencement Speaker Betsy DeVos

by Win McNamee/Getty Images

By Elizabeth Janney for Baltimore Batch – Students last week were also protesting against DeVos at another campus, this time in Arlington, Virginia, where the education secretary announced plans to roll back Title IX guidelines regarding sexual assault. Under the Obama administration guidelines, schools were told to use the lowest standard of proof, called “preponderance of the evidence,” in prosecuting sexual assault cases. In an address at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School last week, DeVos said colleges must raise the burden of proof in order to protect the rights of both victims and those that they accuse because “the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students.” Said DeVos: “Any perceived offense can become a full-blown Title IX investigation, but if everything is harassment, then nothing is harassment.” Her statement drew criticism for equating the harm done to falsely accused students with the suffering of assault survivors. The University of Baltimore stood by its decision to invite DeVos to speak at the fall commencement, issuing this statement on Facebook…

DeVos Embrace Of Predatory For-Profit Colleges Is Breathtaking

President-elect Donald Trump and his pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. (Photo: Shutterstock)

By David Halperin for Republic Report – Betsy DeVos, whose interest in education prior to the Trump administration seemed mostly focused on K-12 schools, has made her mark as Secretary of Education instead with a remarkably blatant embrace of the worst demands of the for-profit college industry. The reputation of that industry, which at its peak a few years ago had 10 percent of U.S. college students and was getting as much as $32 billion a year from taxpayers in student grants and loans, was in tatters after a decade of government and media investigations exposing abusive practices by many for-profit schools: deceptive and coercive student recruiting, sky-high prices, low spending on instruction, and terrible job placement outcomes, leaving former students across America with crushing loan debt and often without the jobs they sought. But instead of continuing the Obama Administration’s increasingly determined efforts to protect students and taxpayers by holding predatory for-profit schools accountable, which was beginning to push schools to improve their ethics and quality…

Hundreds Protest Betsy DeVos Ahead Of ALEC Speech In Denver

Ryan Case‏ / Twitter

By Alexandra Rosenmann for AlterNet – The ALEC meeting comes just a week after the education secretary’s talks with men’s rights activists. Hundreds of protesters descended on the Colorado Statehouse on Wednesday, one day ahead of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ speech at the annual American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Denver. The meeting comes just a week after the education secretary’s controversial talks on Title IX guidelines with so-called men’s rights activists and other skeptics of the federal law that has consistently protected victims of campus sexual assault. “My primary concern is DeVos’ commitment to protecting sexual assault perpetrators and those accused of sexual assault,” University of Denver doctoral student Alicia Mountain told the Denver Post at the rally. Meanwhile, Suzanne Ethredge, president of the local teacher’s union, remained wary of the secretary’s long-term preference for school choice.

Want To See How School Choice Leads To Segregation? Visit Betsy DeVos’ Hometown

YouTube.com / City of Holland

By Jennifer Berkshire for Alternet – Here, two decades of the policies that the Trump/DeVos education budget now wants to take national, have resulted in white flight and school closures, leaving Holland’s poor and minority students segregated in the few schools that remain open. I traveled to Holland last week for the annual Tulip Time festival, a celebration of the city’s Dutch heritage. But along with Dutch shoes and swagger, the legacy of Michigan’s now two-decade experiment with school choice was on vivid display as well, and it wasn’t pretty. First, some background. During the endless runup to DeVos’ confirmation hearing last year, it was the Wild West-style school choice she’d pushed in Detroit that garnered most of the attention. But DeVos was also behind Michigan’s inter-district choice policies that, starting in 2000, disrupted neighborhood attendance zones, just as the Trump administration’s proposed budget seeks to do. In Michigan, school choice has become the new white flight as white families have fled their resident districts for schools that are less diverse. The most dramatic example of this may be in DeVos’ own hometown of Holland.

DeVos’s Education Budget Throws Students To The Loan Sharks

occupy.com

By Brad Poling for Occupy – The Washington Post last week revealed a draft of the Education Department’s proposed budget, which it described as a “near final version of the bill.” The proposal, now confirmed, includes $10.6 billion in cuts to federal education spending, including $3.1 billion for teacher trainer, class-size reduction, and after-school programs for students. It’s not all cuts, though. Plans include $500 million to invest in charter schools, $250 million in voucher program expansion funding, and $1 billion to “push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies.” Just one day after the Post’s report, additional details emerged to complete the bleak picture of the Trump administration’s plans. On Friday, the Education Department outlined plans to contract a single student-loan servicer to collect on its behalf. The announcement also hinted that the contract will go to one of three companies: GreatNet, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), or Navient. In a prepared statement, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended the change, stating that “the federal student loan servicing solicitation we inherited was cumbersome and confusing…

Diane Ravitch: Betsy DeVos Is A Monster The Democrats Helped Create

Opponents note DeVos' track record of opposing public schools, disregarding civil rights, and having no experience as a teacher or an agency leader. (Photo: Getty)

By Jacob Sugarman for AlterNet – $9.2 billion—that’s the amount the Trump administration plans to slice from the Department of Education, according to its latest budget proposal. The carnage includes deep cuts to teacher training, mental health, school arts, anti-bullying initiatives and countless other services, as well as the elimination of Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which affects as many as 400,000 college graduates. Manning the guillotine is Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who has emerged as one of the Trump administration’s most reviled figures among Democrats; all 48 senators voted against her confirmation in February. What few are willing to acknowledge, however, is that their party’s embrace of the education reform movement helped make DeVos’ political career possible. Indeed her proposed voucher system, allowing parents to use public funding for private and religious schools, builds upon a school choice model introduced by Governor Bill Clinton and later championed by President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In an essay for the New Republic, academic and educational policy analyst Diane Ravitch traces how the Democrats went so horribly astray on education

Graduating Students Boo Betsy DeVos During Commencement Speech

betsy-devos-960x614-696x445

By Andrew Emett for Nation of Change – During a university commencement speech on Wednesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos received a cold reception as hundreds of graduating students stood up and turned their backs to her while booing throughout her speech. Trump adviser and former contestant on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” Omarosa Manigault also received boos from the students in protest against the Trump administration. While attending the graduation ceremony at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault briefly stood up on stage when hundreds of students began booing and shouting in disgust. In Omarosa’s defense, university President Edison Jackson rebutted, “You don’t know her. And nor do you know her story.” As Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos approached the podium to deliver her commencement address, approximately half of the graduating class immediately stood up to turn their backs to her while booing her speech. The crowd could also be heard cheering at one point after a man reportedly pumped his fist in the air as security escorted him out of the building.

What Betsy DeVos Means When She Says ‘Public Schools’

President-elect Donald Trump and his pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. (Photo: Shutterstock)

By Jeff Bryant for Education Opportunity Network – Betsy DeVos once called public schools a “dead end,” but now that she’s U.S. Secretary of Education, she’s suddenly all for them. At least that’s what she claims now. During her nomination process, numerous reporters noted DeVos’s obvious bias against public schools. As education journalist Valerie Strauss reported on her blog at the Washington Post, DeVos “made some controversial statements” about public schools, “calling the traditional public education system a ‘dead end.’” Strauss noted DeVos had once said, “government truly sucks.” But now she claims to be all for public schools, at least according to reports on her recent speech to a conference of big city school leaders.

Randi & Lily, For The Good Of Unions, Please Step Down

1teachers

By Steven Singer in Gadfly On The Wall. Unions are facing hard times. We are under attack by the new fascist wing of the Republican party. So-called “right to work” laws are being drafted at the national level to strip us of our rights and transform us into the factory slaves of The Gilded Age. New court challenges at the state and federal level could make it next to impossible to collect dues without allowing countless free riders. And in the mass media criticism of teacher tenure is mounting despite widespread ignorance of what it even means. More than ever we need to be united in our efforts to fight the forces of regression and tyranny. We need each other to protect our public schools and our students from those who would do them harm. But the biggest obstacle to doing that isn’t Donald Trump. Nor is it Mike Pence, Steve Bannon or even Betsy DeVos. It is you. Both of you.

Newsletter: Protest Is Working & Growing

Resist banner flies over the Donald Trump White House by Greenpeace.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. People are recognizing that they have power to protest in a lot of areas. Some see the potential for protest at work, such as the resistance and non-cooperation among federal workers. And, many are planning on building toward a general strike, something unheard of in US history. State officials are even talking about protesting by not paying federal taxes. Early in the Trump era, protest is working and the potential ahead is for an even larger resistance movement. The dysfunctional nature of government will add to protest movements, making the country ungovernable. We can defeat the oligarchy, as currently represented by Trump, but which began long before him, by remaining independent of the corporate parties and fighting for the changes we need.