Feb 18, 2017

Saturday Data: Public Education

     The change of administrations in Washington has caused a turn against Public Schools, another example of the Alabamization of America.
     The President appointed an anti-public education figure to head the Department of...Education.
     The groups who represent teachers (NEA/AEA) sent out an exchange between their representatives and Secretary Betsy DeVos:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reached out to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. We followed up to that voicemail message. On Tuesday (2/14), President Eskelsen García sent a letter to Secretary DeVos. To date, we have not received a response. President Eskelsen García decided to share the letter with NEA members this morning. The following is the note that she sent along with the letter, which is also pasted below. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like a PDF of the letter. I can be reached directly at 202-270-5333 or smaiers@nea.org.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García
“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called me the other day saying we should talk…I’m still struck by the lack of clear answers she gave the public at her Senate hearing. There is no doubt where we stand on issues critical to supporting students and public education, but Americans have a right to know where she stands. So on Tuesday, I sent her a letter, asking for the answers that we didn't get from her confirmation hearing. I have yet to receive a response, but I wanted to share the letter with you.”

February 14, 2017

The Honorable Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
LBJ Education Building
Washington DC 20202
Dear Secretary DeVos:
I am writing in response to your voice mail. I’m an elementary teacher from Utah. I’ve taught in middle-class suburbs. I’ve taught homeless children and hard-to-place foster kids in a residential home. I know how important it is for my students to have education leaders who understand their lives and the support they need. As president of the 3-million-member National Education Association, I look for partners to stand with us as we protect the rights of all our students.
NEA will continue to fight for students, educators, and public schools. I will make sure the voices of educators are heard and that policymakers understand that investing in public schools is an investment in the next generation of teachers, scientists, welders, and even politicians.
It’s important for educators, parents, and communities to know where you stand on some of the most critical work of the federal Department of Education. I must ask you to give us the substantive answers that I did not hear you give to the senators at your hearing on issues critical to our students:
  1. Do you agree that all schools receiving public dollars must be held to the same accountability and transparency standards?
  2. Will you agree not to privatize funding for Special Education or Title I?
  3. Will you stand with educators and protect our most vulnerable students from discrimination, including LGBT students, immigrant students, students of color, girls and English language learners?
  4. Will you focus, as educators are focused, on the civil rights of all children, regardless of their zip code, by challenging the inequities so many face in equal access to programs, services and support?
For us, there is a wrong answer to these questions. Privatizing and profiting from public education has not moved us toward equity, equal access, non-discrimination, and opportunity for all students. NEA members will never waver in our determination to create a system that works for ALL children. Educators, students, and parents deserve to know that the U.S. Secretary of Education will do the same.
I look forward to your response.

Lily Eskelsen García
1989 Utah Teacher of the Year
President, National Education Association

(Tim:  No answer to the letter as far as I can tell.)

[Saturday Data is a regular feature of www.timlennox.com

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