Meeting Between DeVos & Teachers Of The Year Devolves Into Verbal Sparring Match


It’s an established trend, at this point, for the Trump administration to seek to carry out a blanket rollback of government policies and programs, just when they’re needed most. For example, over in the Trump Environmental Protection Agency, as run by agency head Scott Pruitt, Trump lackeys have sought to overturn an array of important environmental protection regulations, including items like the Clean Power Plan.

The same trend has unfolded when it comes to the Trump administration’s treatment of the nation’s educational system. The president appointed an individual — Betsy DeVos — to lead that agency after she had spent a considerable amount of time literally advocating for the subversion of the public school system through the advancement of “school choice.”

On Monday, DeVos had to face the music over her policy positions via a meeting with teachers of the year from all fifty states. The meeting, according to HuffPost, only lasted about thirty minutes, which naturally only provided some of the teachers with the opportunity to speak the Secretary of Education in that context. At least one of those teachers, Oklahoma’s Jon Hazell — who is a Republican and voted for Donald Trump — ended up in a “verbal sparring session” with the Education Secretary over her education policy decisions.

Hazell criticized DeVos for her pro-school choice positions, and, according to HuffPost’s accounting of events, claimed them to be “draining traditional public schools of resources in his state” via items like voucher programs that provide funds meant for already cash-strapped public schools for private education.

DeVos responded to Hazell’s criticism by suggesting that students in his state are utilizing the voucher program in order to avoid “low performing public schools.”

In response to that, according to Hazell himself, the Oklahoma teacher of the year told DeVos:

‘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.’

California teacher of the year Brian McDaniel backed up Hazell — he’s the one who applied the term “verbal sparring match” to what went down between the Oklahoma teacher and DeVos. Texas teacher of the year Tara Bordeaux backed Hazell up in a different fashion, saying that his comments covered concerns shared by “a lot of educators right now.”

So, will DeVos take the educators’ concerns to heart? Considering some of her other comments during the meeting, it’s not particularly likely. Among other comments from the controversial Education Secretary were jabs at teachers striking this week down in Arizona. She said that the teachers’ were carrying on with their strike, which is meant to advocate for better working conditions after teachers elsewhere in the country carried out relatively successful similar campaigns, “at the expense of children.”

She has faced criticism in the past; her nomination attracted an immense outpouring of opposition, although in the end, she was confirmed thanks to a tiebreaking vote in the Senate from Vice President Mike Pence.

After facing this round of opposition from teachers this past Monday, the Trump administration will be hosting a formal reception for the teachers this coming Wednesday.

Featured Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images