February 10 2017
Is there anything the left won't protest?
Betsy DeVos, new Secretary of Education, was physically blocked from stepping inside a D.C. public school on what was to be her first official visit to a school. She eventually managed to enter Jefferson Academy in SW, D.C. Yeah, that's the way to improve public education in this country.
Washington radio station WJLA reports:
The protesters created a barrier to the entrance of the school, and began shouting.
One protester yelled, "She doesn't represent anything that they stand for." Followed by chants, of "shame, shame, shame."
The Washington Teacher's Union organized a gathering outside the school, but were not among the protesters who blocked her. They arrived earlier in the day and greeted DeVos in peace, but with a strong message.
The union, who said they did not support DeVos' nomination, also stated that they hoped she would be successful. They said if DeVos succeeds in her new role then everyone succeeds - including all public schools and teachers.
Ultimately, the union said they just wanted DeVos to hear their message - that they support free public schools and equal education opportunities for all children.
While inside, DeVos met with teachers, the school's principal and the chancellor of D.C. public schools, in addition to touring the classrooms.
DeVos' sin is that she supports school choice, which is a threat only to failing public schools that might lose students if parents have the ability to obtain vouchers to go elsewhere. The proper response of a school is to improve, not to try to shut down competition, which can spur efforts to make a failing school to do better. (That might require beefing up the teaching staff, which doesn't always sit well with teacher unions.)
The real issue is not that DeVos is a threat to public education but that allowing kids to escape failing public schools is a threat to teacher unions. Interestingly, DeVos has not entirely allayed the apprehensions of the anti-Common Core people (she says she opposes it, but having worked with Common Core supporter Jeb Bush, she has yet to win over some Common Core aactivists), but the protests from the left have overshadowed that.
Kerry Pickett reports that the schoolhouse door blockers were from Black Lives Matter.