Those of you who follow me know I rarely have anything nice to say out-going U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos and her Education Department. She’s eliminated civil rights protections for students with disabilities (plus issued murky federal guidance on states’ responsibility for adhering to learning plans during COVID), lessened protections for students of color and transgender students, underfunded pandemic relief, and undermined accountability. Good riddance, Betsy.
But as much as I look forward to equity-driven educational leadership from the Biden Administration, this quote from National Education Association President Betsy Pringle in today’s Wall Street Journal gave me the heebie-jeebies: “He has been working closely with us over these last few months to listen and understand what the issues are that we are facing in this moment. We know we have a partner.”
Why don’t I want the Biden Administration to “partner” with top union lobbyists?
Because the vast lot of them fight parents’ rights to school choice — particularly, parents with kids “trapped in a failing, government-assigned school” —while exercising school choice themselves. Don’t believe me? Listen to Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year:
We need a Secretary of Education who is not a current or former union president. Unions are great and I am a member of a union, however, unions also have issues they need to address. At times, they protect teachers and policies that are harmful to students. Most education unions are also anti-charter schools which are a significant portion of schools and a growing option for Black and Brown families who have been failed by traditional schools. A Secretary of Education must be willing to represent all students and schools in America.
And check out the graphic below (courtesy of the New York City Charter School Center):