The Tennessee PTA released a statement today expressing opposition to Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. The statement comes ahead of a scheduled Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) vote on DeVos’s confirmation.
Here is the statement:
Tennessee PTA is the oldest all-volunteer child advocacy association in Tennessee. As an association, Tennessee PTA annually presents legislative priorities, position statements, and resolutions identifying advocacy positions. Here are a few of our positions that are threatened by the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education:
· Tennessee PTA supports public education – The foundation of our American society is to provide free public education so that every child may achieve their dreams. We need a strong leader in the U.S. Department of Education that has experience in the public school system and is aware of the concerns of parents, teachers, and students within the system.
Tennessee PTA Board of Managers does not feel Ms. DeVos has the needed awareness for public education. We support the availability of education for all children.
· Tennessee PTA supports higher education as priority in the State – The ‘Drive for 55’ highlights the gap between high school and post-secondary education within the state. It was the use of federal funding that started the reforming of public education in Tennessee and the improvements in student access to information. Obtaining a higher education often requires an awareness of grants, scholarships, loans.
Tennessee PTA Board of Managers stresses the importance of post-secondary education to our students. We do not feel Ms. DeVos has the needed preparation to take over higher education opportunities.
· Tennessee PTA has long supported our exceptional children – The Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and 504 plans are well established federal laws that have assisted parents and schools to partner on educating exceptional children. Ms. DeVos’s response about IDEA and the lack of understanding of a federal law within disability education runs counter to Tennessee PTA’s long standing commitment in this area.
· Tennessee PTA each year stands against vouchers – Parents should be empowered with real choices, if the integrity of public schools remains intact. We acknowledge charter schools as one avenue to school reform and support them when designed in accordance with the National PTA’s resolutions and position statements. We oppose diverting public funds to private and parochial schools through vouchers or similar efforts such as school choice.
Tennessee PTA Board of Managers believes that all schools receiving public funds should be held accountable to the same standards and requirements. We do not feel that Ms. DeVos shares these same beliefs.
Tennessee PTA Board of Managers opposes the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Please take our concerns into consideration and make the best choice for the children of the United States and for their education.
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