ALBANY, N.Y. Jan. 28, 2017 – The Board of Directors of the 600,000-member New York State United Teachers today unanimously passed a resolution opposing Cabinet confirmation for billionaire Betsy DeVos – the latest in an escalating series of union actions that highlight DeVos lack of qualifications to lead the U.S. Department of Education.
The Board also thanked U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both of whom said this week they planned to vote “No” on DeVos’ nomination.
NYSUT has been leading a fierce charge against DeVos since her name was brought forward Nov. 23 for a Cabinet post. Directors said NYSUT and its members are deeply concerned by her total lack of public education experience and for her support of vouchers and unregulated, for-profit charter schools – all of which should disqualify her from leading the U.S. Department of Education. The Board also noted she has donated millions of dollars to campaigns aimed at undermining and privatizing public education.
The NYSUT Board resolution says: “Betsy DeVos has no credentials or any experience to serve in this position as she has never had any experience with public schools.” It points out that at her confirmation hearing, DeVos could not answer basic questions about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; supported guns on school grounds to defend against grizzly bears, and was unable to explain the difference between “proficiency” and “growth” – concepts at the center of national education debate.
NYSUT members have sent tens of thousands of e-mails opposing DeVos in the last few weeks, and have been advocating that their school boards also formally oppose DeVos. As of Friday, more than 20 New York school boards have passed their own resolutions urging Congress to reject DeVos’ nomination. More are scheduled to do so in the coming week.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.
FULL TEXT OF NYSUT BOARD OF DIRECTORS RESOLUTION
Reject the Appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education
Whereas, Betsy DeVos was nominated to serve as Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education ; and
Whereas, Betsy DeVos has no credentials or any experience to serve in this position as she has never had any experience with public schools; and
Whereas, Betsy DeVos has been known as a fierce proponent of school vouchers and charter schools and served as chairwoman of the board of the Alliance for School Choice; and
Whereas, in 2003, Betsy DeVos and her husband began the All Children Matter PAC to fund legislative initiatives to promote school vouchers and tax credits for private, parochial schools in various State Legislatures; and
Whereas, Betsy DeVos also serves in various capacities in organizations whose mission is to privatize and destroy traditional public schools, including: the Advocates for School Choice, the American Education Reform Council, the Education Freedom Fund; Choices for Children; Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) and the American Federation for Children (AFC); Children First America; and
Whereas, Betsy DeVos has been credited as one of the architects of the Detroit Charter School System which has enriched unregulated, unaccountable, for-profit charter school operators while leaving thousands of students behind academically; and
Whereas, at her confirmation hearing, Betsy DeVos could not answer the most basic questions regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), jokingly supported allowing firearms on school grounds, was unable to distinguish between or explain her position on the critical and controversial on-going national debate on assessments being based on student “growth” or “proficiency;” and would not commit to the fact that all school should be held to the same standards; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that NYSUT opposes the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education; and be it further
Resolved, that NYSUT thank the U.S. Senators from New York for their public opposition to this appointment and affirm our support for their votes and advocacy.