Underneath the facade of the endless angry presidential tweets, the belligerent businessman turned political icon Donald Trump is, in effect, changing the internal perception of what government should do across the board. Instead of looking out for anyone it comes in contact with, for instance, Trump and his associates seem intent on turning the government into an entity that only looks out for those who have obtained the title of “citizen.” Even at that, Trump has ostracized “citizens” who don’t fit the mold of white conservative Christianity.
The volatile Trump-ian vision for America and for American government has been felt at an array of major departments, including at the Department of Education, currently led by Trump appointee Betsy DeVos.
To suggest that DeVos has proven controversial would be an understatement. She’s among an array of drastically unqualified Cabinet secretaries, but in the face of that glaring lack of qualifications having an effect on American children, vast swaths of the country mobilized against her nomination early last year.
Now, she’s been in her position for over a year, but the opposition hasn’t gone away.
On Thursday, the leaders of two prominent teachers’ unions visited the building housing the Department of Education in D.C. along with about 100 others, attempting to deliver failing “report cards” grading DeVos’ job performance to the Secretary of Education.
Those activists, led by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García, were kept from entering the building, with the defense from the department stating that the activists did not have an appointment.
Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill added a more dismissive take on the protests, commenting:
‘It’s unfortunate that instead of working to have productive dialogue, the unions decided it was important to pull teachers out of the classroom for a two-hour political publicity stunt — for which they shot their own footage to send to media outlets.’
Weingarten wasn’t impressed with the department’s standoffish response to their protests, commenting Thursday to those assembled:
‘They knew that teachers and parents and students from all over the country have actually taken their time to say what is going on in their schools. And here on Betsy DeVos’s anniversary, this is the first time that I have ever been to this building where we were not let in — where the educators, where the students, where the parents of America were locked out of the federal Department of Education.’
Eskelsen García explained that the catalyst for the teachers’ protest included the plans for $9 billion in cuts at the department and the ending of protections for disabled students, adding that she believes DeVos should resign.
There’s not necessarily any reason to believe that DeVos will resign any time soon, if at all, although there have been rumors to that effect in the past.
She came into office after having effectively lobbied against public schools in the past, and she joined the ranks of Cabinet secretaries like Scott Pruitt, who leads the EPA but sued it numerous times in his past position as Oklahoma state attorney general.
Featured Image via Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg