Betsy DeVos visit to Dallas schools draws promises of protests
Dallas will see a visit from United States Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is traveling to North Texas to visit two schools on April 5. She'll also be met with protests.
DeVos will visit the Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning and the Billy Earle Dade Middle School, a Dallas ISD school. It's at Billy Dade that she'll be met by veteran protest group the Next Generation Action Network and Texas Organizing Project, who are protesting her efforts to privatize the public school system.
According to a release, DeVos' agenda is to "destroy our school system and make it private."
The protestors say that DeVos' education priorities became clear in March with the release of the Trump administration's "skinny budget."
"As a result, much of what is in today's full budget isn't surprising," the release says. "The proposal would cut the Education Department's funding by more than 13 percent and slash overall funding by almost $11 billion, including eliminating $2.1 billion in funding for teacher professional development and support."
The group would rather that money be spent on hiring more teachers, and on after-school programs that help working families.
"At the same time, Trump and DeVos would push over $1 billion of new money for private school voucher schemes and other school choice programs," the release says.
In addition to eliminating funding for teachers and after-school programs, the budget proposes dismantling 20 other critical programs – zeroing out funding for:
- foreign language
- science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)
- history and civics
- gifted programs
- mental health
- bullying prevention
- enrichment programs
"Budgets are always an exercise in trade-offs and priorities and, if nothing else, Trump and DeVos should get credit for being crystal clear about their priorities," the release says. "In addition to prioritizing private schools over public schools, the budget prioritizes ideology over evidence and choice over all else."
The group also charges DeVos with distorting the Education Innovation and Research Program to create her own "slush fund" for private schools.
Their other objections include DeVos' request for millions of dollars for additional security costs, stemming from her decision to have federal marshals guard her 24 hours a day, rather than using the Department of Education security staff.
The protest will begin at 2 pm at Billy Earl Dade Middle School, 2727 Al Lipscomb Way, including a press conference at 2:15 pm with community leaders.