DeVos protestors want to keep children trapped in failing schools

By LIV FINNE  | 
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Oct 4, 2017

An organization calling itself Equity in Education plans to protest against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos when she speaks at our annual gala dinner next week. 

First, they call it a “counter rally,” but there is no rally to counter, so they’re just holding a rally.

Second, they want to deny educational choices to families, while we strongly support school choice, especially for children of color who face discrimination within the current system.  In 2017, the Washington State Achievement Index identifies 365 failing public schools, where up to 50% of students drop out.  It is interesting that school officials have located most of these failing schools in urban communities.

We believe all families that are underserved by traditional public schools should be allowed free, publicly-funded choices that give their children access to a high-quality education.

Third, Equity in Education calls us “Koch-backed...”  This is a cheap form of McCarthyism – an attempt to smear by association.  Washington Policy Center is an independent, non-profit, state-based research and education organization.  We are entirely supported (unlike unions) by voluntary donations, from thousands of supporters across the state.  To maintain our independence to critique public agencies and programs, we do not take government money. 

We don’t take money by force.  When a teacher doesn’t pay the WEA union she’s fired.  When someone doesn’t give to WPC...nothing happens.

Lastly, the protestors don’t want people in Washington state to hear a positive message about how to help school children from Betsy DeVos, a smart, independent-minded woman serving at the highest level of our federal government.

The protestors do not think families trapped in failing public schools should be allowed a choice.  But just as we will always defend the right to speak of those who disagree, we won’t allow others to silence us, or our invited speakers, with angry, hateful and mean-spirited attacks.

Washington Policy Center strongly supports free speech and the respectful exchange of ideas.   We are always open to engaging in constructive debate about how to improve education for all children.