Education Secretary Betsy DeVos encountered protesters outside a D.C. middle school and found her way barred as she tried to enter through a side door, forcing her to retreat into a government vehicle as a man shouted “Shame!”
Before DeVos arrived, several dozen parents, activists and teachers union members gathered to show support for public schools.
Elizabeth Davis, president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, said the union was supporting teachers concerned about the visit. “We want to share the message that we love our public school system,” Davis told reporters. “Public education teachers believe that public education is the cornerstone, it’s the foundation of our society.”
A teacher from a D.C. charter school, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, carried a sign that said “Ms. DeVos: Our children are not props.”
“Betsy DeVos does not represent our students or our families here in D.C.,” the teacher said. “She doesn’t have our best interests at heart.”
But the demonstration outside Jefferson Middle School Academy was a further sign that DeVos remains a polarizing figure in the education world days after she took office.
DeVos is a billionaire who has spent three decades lobbying for private school vouchers, charter schools and other alternatives to traditional public schools. She was one of President Trump’s most controversial Cabinet picks and barely won confirmation. Her supporters call her a bold reformer, while opponents fear she will seek to undermine public schools by funneling taxpayer funding to private and religious schools.
via Washington Post