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One year ago this month, President Obama signed a piece of legislation that he called “a Christmas miracle.” It was the Every Student Succeeds Act, our bipartisan fix to No Child Left Behind. ESSA increases funding for public education, gives more decision-making back to state and local leaders, helps to reduce testing, and puts more focus on well-rounded education.
The Every Student Succeeds Act also reaffirms the promise of high-quality public education as a civil right. Unfortunately, President-elect Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education threatens that promise.
In her home state of Michigan, Betsy DeVos and her family have spent millions to pass laws and develop programs that promote their vision for education – school privatization, voucher systems, and the expansion of charter schools with minimal accountability.
As a result, nearly 80 percent of charter schools in Michigan are for-profit today. Things are so dire in Detroit that the local Education Trust – Midwest has deemed it a “civil rights issue.”
We cannot allow President-Elect Trump and Betsy DeVos to decimate our system of public education. We must keep working to strengthen our public schools so all children have a chance to succeed - regardless of their background or their zip code.
Supporting public education and maintaining it as a civil right is why I worked so hard to replace No Child Left Behind. I will do everything I can to advocate our values to the new Education Secretary if she is confirmed. And I will stand fast in my opposition to diverting public education dollars to private or religious schools.
The promise of public education has long been a driving force for me. I’ll keep fighting for all of our children – and our future – every single day.