The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

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AFT's Weingarten on Betsy DeVos' Cynical White House Education Plan

Administration Hijacks Anniversary of Civil Rights Act to Push Failed Voucher Scheme that Diverts Money from Schools that Need It Most


American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the White House released details of a voucher program it would like to try to insert in a forthcoming congressional relief package:

"It is telling that, after spending more than three years doing nothing to help the public schools that 90 percent of children attend, Betsy DeVos races to divert resources into private hands 48 hours after the Supreme Court's decision in Espinoza. With our country dealing with a pandemic, an economic recession and structural racism, she's spied an opening to exploit this crisis to resuscitate her failed agenda.

"And it's especially sickening that, in the middle of a national reckoning over race, when poor schools are in desperate need of funds to reopen safely, DeVos hijacks the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act to shift support away from where it's needed most.

"In the next stimulus package, Congress needs to reject this thought bubble and prioritize public schools that are open to all children, not failed 'choice' schemes that split us along racial, ethnic and religious lines. We need more money, not less, for physical distancing, staggered classes, personal protective equipment, and testing, tracing and isolation.

"DeVos' craven attempts to divide and privatize would be laughable if the stakes weren't so high."

The American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through the work our members do. The American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, was founded in 1916 and today represents 1.6 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide.