DeVos is not a friend of public education

Iowa has a long-standing, strong tradition of commitment to and excellence in education. Teacher licensing requirements are among the strongest in the nation. Iowa student performance on standardized tests typically ranks high. As much of the nation toyed with charter school programs and vouchers to give parents public money to pay for private school tuition, legislators in Iowa have shown bipartisan resistance to these ideas for at least two decades.

While states and communities have primary responsibility for education under our U.S. Constitution, education is a cabinet-level department in the federal government.

President Donald Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education. This is a tragedy. In her Senate hearings, she showed herself to be remarkably poorly informed on many important educational issues. Her primary qualification is being a very rich woman who donated heavily to the Trump campaign and who has worked hard to undermine public education and to privilege private charter schools and vouchers. There is no body of evidence that demonstrates student achievement is higher in such schools. Furthermore, there have been major problems in holding these schools accountable.

Please call or write our Senators Chuck Grassley ((319) 363-6832) and Joni Ernst ((319) 365-4504). Ask them to honor Iowa values and vote against the DeVos appointment. It will be a slap in the face of every Iowa teacher, student and parent if our senators vote in favor of such a uniquely unqualified individual to lead federal education efforts. DeVos has shown she is not a friend of public education.

Roger Johanson



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