Guest column: Public education isn't the only answer

Guest column: Public education isn't the only answer

The Twitter storm unleashed not long before DeVos' visit to a middle school in southwest Washington Friday, during which she was greeted by parents, retired teachers, and a small band of aggressive protesters.

Another protester screamed that DeVos "does not represent" what the 7th St. SW public school "stands for".

Another protestor, chasing DeVos and a man who appeared to be her security aide, said, "She's giving money to senators and buying her way into positions - you should be so proud of yourself!".

Some waved Black Lives Matter placards, but the protest was organized by the Washington Teachers-Union and its parent union, American Federation of Teachers.

A video from the scene shows DeVos walking away from one entrance of Jefferson Middle School after being physically blocked from the entrance. For the first time in our nation's history a Cabinet nominee required the vice president to break a tie after the Senate voted 50-50 on DeVos' nomination.

"Betsy DeVos does not play well with others - should be held back", one sign read. She has also been criticized for what opponents say is her limited experience with public school systems. At CNN, a contributor opined that Secretary DeVos' proposed policies would lead to segregation of schools, an idea that is patently ludicrous.

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Democrats and labor unions vigorously fought the nomination, suggesting that DeVos would defund traditional public schools by diverting taxpayers' money to charter and private institutions. The vote, which was 50 in favor of her and 50 against her, was broken by Vice President Mike Pence in her favor.

Betsy DeVos has seen her fair share of opposition since being tapped to become President Trump's Secretary of Education.

Unlike DeVos, former Secretary of Education John B. King had a doctorate in education, attended public school in NY, has two children now attending public school and prior experience working in the Department of Education.

Unqualified New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black lasted just over three months.

Following the visit, DeVos issued a statement thanking D.C. school officials, teachers and students for welcoming her and stressing that she believes a focus on students and families "is at the heart of providing an exceptional education".