In case her 50-51 confirmation vote didn't clue you in, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is likely the most unpopular cabinet pick in history. And for further proof, Betsy DeVos was blocked from entering a school in Washington, D.C. on Friday. The scene was captured on video, below. DeVos arrived at Jefferson Middle School Academy for an event with local school officials, according to the Washington Post, and demonstrators physically blocked her from entering, then followed her to her SUV while chanting "shame" and criticizing her for donating nearly a billion dollars to the senators who voted to put her in office.
The Post reported that DeVos did eventually gain access to the school via another entrance, but the event was closed off to the media. Following the event, she made a brief statement outside: "It was really wonderful to visit this school, and I look forward to many visits of many great public schools, both in D.C. and around the country. Thanks very much." She refused to comment on the protest, but did say that the school was "awesome." Is this a sign that she's finally gotten over her aversion to public schools? Not quite; Jefferson is a charter school.
The crowd of protesters was reportedly made up of parents and teachers. A local charter school teacher in attendance told the Post that the newly appointed DeVos "does not represent our students or our families here in D.C.," and carried a signed stating, "Ms. DeVos: Our children are not props." Washington Teachers Union president Elizabeth Davis posted a call to protest the event on Twitter Thursday morning. After DeVos' confirmation vote on Tuesday, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten remarked that it was a "sad day for children," according to The Hill. Weingarten has previously characterized DeVos as "the most ideological, anti-public education nominee" ever considered for the Department of Education.
DeVos has referred to public education as a "dead end," and specifically called out D.C. public schools as "low-performing." Although the Trump transition team told Mother Jones that DeVos "believes in the legal doctrine of the separation of church and state," she has stated that her goal is to "confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God's kingdom" by funding religious schools with government money via vouchers. She's spent millions of dollars restructuring Michigan's public school system the last 20 years, with "disastrous" results, according to Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook. Parents and teachers nationwide are determined not to let her ideology hurt any more children.