An Oklahoma teacher who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 says that he got into a heated argument with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during a closed-door meeting this week.
Teacher Jon Hazell tells the Huffington Post that he and 49 other teachers, who had all been named teachers of the year in their individual states, met with DeVos this week to discuss their concerns about her education policies.
In particular, he took issue with DeVos’s “school choice” program, which he said drains resources out of traditional public schools and lavishes them upon private schools and charter schools.
“I said, ‘You’re the one creating the “bad” schools by taking all the kids that can afford to get out and leaving the kids who can’t behind,’” Hazell told the Huffington Post.
Brian McDaniel, California’s teacher of the year, tells the publication that Hazell’s comments received a lot of support in the room from fellow teachers.
Additionally, Huffington Post reports that DeVos sparked additional ire from teachers in the room when she expressed her opposition to teachers across the country going on strike to protest for more classroom resources and better pay.
“She basically said that teachers should be teaching and we should be able to solve our problems not at the expense of children,” said Melissa Romano, Montana’s teacher of the year. “For her to say at the ‘expense of children’ was a very profound moment and one I’ll remember forever because that is so far from what is happening.”
Image: State Teachers of the Year meeting with Secretary DeVos, by U.S. Dept. of Education/Twitter
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‘Hurting Tens of Thousands of Borrowers’: Betsy DeVos Sued for Allegedly Refusing to Follow Court Order
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is being sued for refusing to follow a judge’s order to implement Obama-era regulations. The lawsuit claims DeVos was required to “discharge,” or stop collecting on loans of students who attended for-profit schools and colleges if the institution or their campus had shut down, as The Hill reports.
“It has been nearly two years since these rules should have taken effect, and Secretary DeVos is still dragging her feet and hurting tens of thousands of borrowers through her inaction,” National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) President Aaron Ament said in a statement.
“The students we are trying to help have been doubly victimized – first by the for-profit colleges that deceived them, and now by the federal government that refuses to help.”
The lawsuit says the Education Dept. continues to collect on debts the students should not owe.
The Hill adds that a federal court in October “ruled that the Obama-era debt regulations had to be implemented after over a year of delays by DeVos.”
The Washington Post notes that Secretary DeVos “said that the rule made it too easy for students to cancel their debts and that she intended to replace it with her own version to take effect next year.”
In August the LA Times Editorial Board charged that DeVos “sides with predatory for-profit colleges over America’s students.”
Betsy DeVos May Seek to Raid Fed Funds for School Guns
Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, in a rebuff to both Democrats and education advocates, has pushed back against requests that she not use federal funds for weapons in schools. DeVos claims that she prefers “flexibility” in her choices.
In a letter to Democratic Representative Bobby Scott, DeVos initially seemed to side with the leader.
“Let me be clear: I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff under the ESEA [Elementary and Secondary Education Act]” read her letter to Scott.
She, however, continued, “While local educational agencies must comply with certain application and fiscal requirements, the ESEA provides ‘substantial flexibility’ in how school districts use these funds to meet the purposes of the program and allows educators to tailor investments based on their own assessments of the needs of their unique student populations.”
A recent New York Times report noted that DeVos was seeking to use $1 billion in Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants for purchasing and training in firearms.
The issue of guns in schools has been a hot-button topic in the wake of numerous school shootings in America, most notable the Parkland shooting which claimed 17 high school students.
Some schools have sought to arm teachers, while others are working to make it harder for schools to have guns on their campus. Arming teachers is widely viewed as a bad idea that could lead to an increase in accidental shootings, while not increasing the chances of stopping an active shooter situation.
In 2017, during Betsy DeVos confirmation hearing, she infamously cited the threat from grizzly bears in schools as a reason for guns being allowed in classrooms.
Teacher of the Year Wore LGBT Activism Buttons During Ceremony With Trump – White House Blocked Her Speech
Mandy Manning traveled from Washington State to the White House to receive her National Teacher of the Year award from the president, and she came with a few messages – which the Trump administration blocked.
There’s a reason for that.
Manning works with refugee and immigrant students, the very people Trump is waging war against.
During the ceremony, she also engaged in several silent but powerful forms of protest. Manning wore LGBT activism and other political pins on her dress.
— Lisa Simpson Democrat EndGunViolenceNow BoycottNRA (@Rachel_McRea) May 2, 2018
One read “Trans Rights Now.” Another was the LGBT Pride rainbow in the shape of a teacher’s apple. There was a pin for the Women’s March, another for the Peace Corps, and one for the Teacher of the Year program.
Manning also handed Trump letters from her refugee and immigrant students, which she says she hopes he’ll read.
The Guardian posted a video noting Manning did not clap when Trump entered the room, nor did she shake his hand.
None of this was evident during Wednesday’s ceremony, because the White House in an odd move blocked the press from covering her speech at the event.
So she recorded one of her own.
“My goal is to share my student stories,” Manning told CNN. “But to send a message, to not only by immigrants and refugee students but the LGBT community, that they are wanted, they are loved, they are enough and they matter.”
“My aim is to elevate my student’s voices and be that vehicle for them,” she added.
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