A New York teacher’s union is imploring members to pressure U.S. senators to vote ‘No’ on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
In an electronic mailer signed off with Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan, “Stronger Together,” educators are given a list of reasons “Why Betsy DeVos is wrong for public education” – including a line item declaring, “DeVos is in favor of Christian schools.”
No further explanation is provided for the reasoning behind the blanket statement.
The union operates on Long Island, just outside of New York City, which serves as home to some of the most prestigious Catholic schools in the nation.
The mailer primarily attacks DeVos’ support for private and charter schools, making claims such as –
- “She is for vouchers that divert taxpayer funds from public schools to private schools.”
- “DeVos helped launch and has chaired All Children Matter (ACM), a political organization set up in 2003 to promote vouchers across the nation and push for tax credits for businesses that create scholarships for children to attend private schools.”
While public educators may find these positions threatening to their comfortable professional cocoons, parents with children in failing or substandard schools might find them quite appealing.
A 2015 report released by the governor’s office of New York titled, Long Island Report: More than 109,000 Students Currently Enrolled in New York’s 178 Failing Schools, presents the “crisis” for many of the state’s students and public education institutions, and begins as follows –
The administration of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued a report detailing the crisis of failing schools in New York State. According to the report:
- The State currently has 178 failing schools.
- There are more than 109,000 students currently enrolled in New York’s 178 failing schools.
- 77 of these schools have been failing for 10 years, with more than 250,000 students passing through these schools while New York State government has done nothing.
- Statewide, more than 9 out of 10 students in failing schools are minority or poor.
- While the education bureaucracy demands more and more money, the reality is school districts with failing schools have statewide seen an average 13.8 percent increase in funding over the past three years, and continued to fail.
Clearly, the union is content with the status quo and more concerned with protecting their jobs and pensions than improving the lives of their students and their futures.
Ralph Reed writes on the matter, “In opposing Mrs. DeVos for being a Christian who supports providing children with access to private and charter schools, the Democrats are doubling down on a failed strategy of demonizing people of faith. This is a losing argument on the merits, and it will only further drive evangelicals and faithful Roman Catholics further away.”
The mailer encourages members to contact senators from other states, and also instructs them how to lie if questioned about their residential location – “If you want to try to call and are asked where you live you can try using city and zip listed in parentheses.”
A provided link directs to an anti-DeVos web page condemning her unwillingness to support public schools as being sitting-duck “gun-free zones,” as well.
The Senate is expected to vote on DeVos’ confirmation on Tuesday, and it appears she will pass by a narrow margin.