'Teachers of the Year' Confront DeVos Over School Choice

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Posted: May 02, 2018 4:45 PM
'Teachers of the Year' Confront DeVos Over School Choice

Tuesday brought us the latest round of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos versus school teachers. At a private meeting with individuals who had been voted the nation's top teachers, the two parties butted heads and engaged in a war of words over what's best for students.

Several teachers, like Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Jon Hazell, told DeVos that her school choice policies were preventing success.

"We have a problem where public money is siphoned off from the public schools and given to children who are going to charter and private schools," Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Jon Hazell said.

DeVos defended the school choice program, noting that students need an avenue to escape failing schools. Hazell countered by noting her policies were creating poor environments because they are taking away necessary funding from public schools. DeVos also supposedly surprised attendees by describing private schools as part of the public school system.

DeVos and the participating teachers were "passionate," but respectful of one another, Hazell recalled.

DeVos drew teachers' ire last month after criticizing their salary strikes. At the time, Oklahoma teachers had not shown up to class in nine days. They marched to defy school funding cuts and to demand pay raises of $10,000 over the next three years. Similar strikes took place in West Virginia, Arizona and Colorado.

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“I think we need to stay focused on what’s right for kids," DeVos said. "And I hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served.”

She echoed that sentiment Tuesday.

"I hope the teachers would not work out our grievances at the expense of the kids."