Betsy DeVos was blocked from entering a D.C. school on Friday morning when a group of protesters stood in front of the door. The protesters, who were from the local teacher’s union and a group called Movement 4 Black Lives, shouted, “You do not represent anything we stand for” and “Shame, shame, shame.” One protester was arrested for assault on a police officer. There were also allegations that someone had tried to assault the Education Secretary as she tried to enter the building.
DeVos turned away from the protest and found a different way into the school and was able to meet with school leaders and students successfully.
The Education Secretary issued a statement after the incident.
"I respect peaceful protest, and I will not be deterred in executing the vital mission of the Department of Education," the statement said. "No school door in America will be blocked from those seeking to help our nation's schoolchildren."
This was a silly protest, and it accomplishes nothing. Why stop the Education Secretary from entering a school? What does that accomplish?
Understandably, there are mixed feelings about Trump’s pick of DeVos as Secretary of Education. Her confirmation was very heated, with Vice President Pence having to break a 50-50 tie to get her confirmed.
Her critics cite her lack of education experience, her support of school vouchers, charter schools, and her lack of understanding of what does and doesn’t work in the public school system to show that she is not qualified. They’ve also led several organizations, most prominently teachers’ unions and Black Lives Matter, to call for protests.
Per Ranking America, the U.S. ranks 17 in educational performance when compared to other countries around the world. Given such poor performance, DeVos’ desire to see an overhaul of the educational system is merited.
Our educational system is broken. If DeVos is willing to encourage the states to pursue charter schools and vouchers so that parents can have the ability to choose where their children go to school (this is why the unions are opposed to her) and avoid underperforming public schools, then she is someone worth standing behind.