DeVos spars with a 2018 teacher of the year over charter schools: report

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos got into what was nearly a “verbal sparring session” with a teacher on Monday over how her policies impact public schools, HuffPost reported Tuesday.

DeVos met for a roundtable on Monday with the 2018 teachers of the year from all 50 states. 

During the meeting, Oklahoma’s teacher of the year, Jon Hazell, told DeVos her school choice policies are pulling resources away from public schools.

Hazell told HuffPost that he specifically brought up DeVos’s charter and private school voucher programs.


He said DeVos responded that students might be choosing the voucher program to leave low-performing public schools.

Hazell fired back by saying DeVos was the one creating the so-called bad schools with policies that leave behind students who can’t afford anything but public school.

Multiple teachers confirmed the altercation to HuffPost.

The Department of Education did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. The teachers will attend a formal reception with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday.

DeVos reportedly told the group that traditional public schools and charter schools should be thought of as parts of the same public school system.

The teachers were irritated by her response because the schools are managed and funded very differently, HuffPost reported.

“That was a shocker to all the teachers in the room,” Hazell said.

Oklahoma teachers went on a state-wide strike last month to demand more school funding. Teachers from several other states, including Arizona, Colorado and West Virginia, have held similar walkouts this year. 

The teachers said DeVos spoke against them going on strike during the meeting. 

“She basically said that teachers should be teaching and we should be able to solve our problems not at the expense of children,” Melissa Romano, Montana’s teacher of the year, said. 

“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,” Romano added.

DeVos critiqued the Oklahoma strike in April, telling teachers they should “serve the students.” 

Tags Alternative education Betsy DeVos Charter schools in the United States Department of Education Donald Trump Education economics School choice School voucher school vouchers teacher strikes
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