Parents and teachers at Jefferson Middle School in Washington DC protested a visit by Trump's education secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday, and blocked her entry for a while. One protesting teacher told reporters: 'Betsy DeVos does not represent our students or our families here in D.C. She doesn't have our best interests at heart.'
DeVos is a billionaire advocate of charter schools and school vouchers - both cornerstones of the global project to destroy public education and turn it into a profit mill for corporations. Parents pointed out that Washington schools had been thrown into chaos as a result of being a proving ground for these policies.
Randi Weingarten, national President of the American Federation of Teachers tweeted an implication that a Jefferson protester had 'almost knocked DeVos down.' To her credit, she later tweeted support for the protest. However her tweet went on 'we want (DeVos) to visit public schools', echoing Obama's education secretary Arne Duncan who tweeted: 'Let her in. She really needs to be in public schools.' Arne Duncan was one of the main cheerleaders for charter schools and privatisation when he was CEO for Chicago Public Schools and continued so in federal office. He arguably bears a huge responsibillity for the escalating privatisation of schools in the US.
It is the opinion of this website that, just as journalists who forecast that Trump would somehow be different in office were completely wrong, so any idea that a lifelong and loaded promoter of private education is somehow going to change her spots by going into public schools is nonsense. It's time our unions decided what side they are on and made unequivocal cause with those fighting to defend public education and ceased to put any faith in individuals like DeVos and organisations like the World Bank which are dedicated to destroying it.