A cartoon featured on Feb. 13 showed marshalls escorting the first black child into an all-white elementary school in 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, so that she would have the same educational opportunity as her white peers. Unproven voucher systems and charter schools will likely result in economic re-segregation of students by how much income their parents make, creating unequal learning opportunities using government tax dollars. If it wasn’t OK in the 1960s, it certainly shouldn’t be OK today, to have segregation in any form in schools receiving taxpayer dollars. Nothing has occurred in our nation since the 1960s that would justify such probable economic re-segregation.
Betsy DeVos, as depicted in the cartoon, was escorted through an alternate entrance to a D.C. public school to bypass protestors, most likely because of the previous two sentences. Protesters are fearful she will try to impose her unproven ideas about education on our country. The protestors were rejecting the economic re-segregation of schools based on the financial resources of well-off parents being combined with voucher money to send their children to more exclusive educational learning opportunities to the detriment of the children without those financial resources: defacto economic re-segregation of publicly funded education.
DeVos had the perfect platform to make the case for her views during her confirmation hearings. She did not. Why? Public schools cannot survive already stretched thin educational tax dollars being diverted to for profit schools, charter or otherwise. Involve all stakeholders in educational reforms please.
President, Illinois Federation of Teachers Local 434
Belleville Federation of High School Teachers