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Standing Up to Unprecedented Threats to Schools

DeVos (above, right) has spent millions of her family fortune over the last 30 years destroying public education and lobbying for taxpayer dollars for unregulated vouchers and for-profit charter management organizations (CMOs). According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the president-elect’s nominee signals his intention to put this kind of privatization “at the center of his national agenda on education.”
 
DeVos’ lobbying — and deep pockets — have resulted in an explosion in the number of for-profit charters in her home state, which now has the most in the nation. A recent yearlong federal investigation into two decades of CMO records brought to light the consequences of Michigan’s lack of oversight, transparency and accountability for these privatized schools. 
 
Click here for more on DeVos from the CMD. 
 
“Betsy DeVos is everything Donald Trump said is wrong in America,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. She pointed out that the president-elect’s nominee is “an ultra-wealthy heiress who uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda,” adding that she contradicts “Trump’s promise to drain the swamp.”
 
The Wall Street Journal just last month reported that the family is involved in a hedge fund making money off a student lending company contracted by the federal education department.
 
Click here for reporting on how DeVos is profiting off the student debt crisis.
 
The president-elect during his campaign proposed a $20 billion voucher scheme to shift taxpayer dollars to private and religious schools. With DeVos at Donald Trump’s side and leading the nation’s education department, this destructive plan could become a reality.
 
That’s why Weingarten and National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen García jointly authored the open letter calling for a renewed commitment to student success. It’s also why the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) is in two weeks again organizing a coordinated national day of action to galvanize the growing movement for educational justice.
 
Click here to learn more about the January 19 events taking place here in Connecticut.
 
“America’s traditional public schools are how our nations fulfills a collective promise,” said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. “That promise is to accept and teach every child — regardless of where they live — and provide them a quality education. To reclaim that promise we must work together to resist any attempts to dismantle it,” added Hochadel, who taught physics and science in the state’s technical high schools.
 
“This isn’t about politics because education shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” said AFT Connecticut jurisdictional vice president for PreK-12 educators Patti Fusco. “Ninety percent of American children attend traditional public schools; they deserve elected leaders and policymakers who will strengthen, not destabilize or defund, those schools,” added Fusco, a teacher of talented and gifted students in West Haven.
 
Our national union on Monday will launch a new petition drive urging the Senate to reject DeVos’ nomination and instead commit to the American vision of public education for all. It will provide an opportunity for members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated unions to speak out for great neighborhood schools that welcome and include students of all backgrounds, identities, origins and abilities.
 
Click here for Weingarten’s letter to the U.S. Senate opposing DeVos’ nomination.
 
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