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BALTIMORE (AP) — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Monday that recent teacher strikes have “ultimately hurt kids” and that labor disputes should be handled outside the classroom.
DeVos made the comments in Baltimore while speaking at a conference for education journalists.
Teachers from West Virginia to California have walked out of classrooms in recent months to protest working conditions and call for better benefits. Many have demanded changes including higher pay, smaller class sizes and more classroom funding.
When asked if she supports teachers who have gone on strike, DeVos said she thinks “great teachers need to be well-paid,” but that issues should be resolved without disrupting school instruction.
“I think it’s important that adults have adult disagreements on adult time, and that they not ultimately hurt kids in the process,” DeVos said. “I think too often they’re doing so by walking out of classrooms and having arguments in the way that they are.”
DeVos, who has often been at odds with major teachers unions, took a dig at Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. That union has been highly critical of DeVos.
“Great teachers perhaps should be making at least half as much as what Randi Weingarten does at a half million dollars a year,” DeVos said.
Weingarten responded quickly, saying she would be “delighted if Betsy wants to get all teachers close to $200,000 — they deserve that — and so much more.” The union leader said “we could do this if Betsy worked with us to revoke tax cuts for rich people. She won’t even have to give up the summer homes and the yachts.”
Educators in Oregon could be the latest to go on strike, with tens of thousands expected to walk out Wednesday in protest of class sizes and education funding. It would follow a string of recent strikes in Los Angeles, Denver and Oakland, along with statewide walkouts in West Virginia and Oklahoma.
DeVos’ speech was her first appearance at the annual Education Writers Association national seminar, a regular stopover for her predecessors. In prepared remarks, she discussed her aversion to the public spotlight and said she prefers to keep the focus on students.
So if I understand dear Betsy correctly, teachers should stay in the classroom, underpaid, underappreciated, having to buy essential supplies out of their own pockets and just shut up about it, because disgruntled teachers will do a good job?
Betsy is the poster child for this administration being out of touch with reality and not giving a damn about how to fix our real problems. All they can say is “Build the wall!”
". . . those who claim to know the Mind of God, who will tell you what God thinks and how He will judge and condemn others—those people are the greatest of all blasphemers." Aloysius Xingu Leng Pendergast
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