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We became teachers with one primary goal in mind — making a difference in the lives of our students. Teaching is an incredible, although difficult, job, and we do our best to give our kids the tools and opportunities they need to live up to their fullest potential.

However, we are facing serious challenges in public education in Michigan. In many school districts resources have dwindled, class sizes have grown, and woefully unregulated for-profit charters have siphoned funding from the community.

Billionaire Republican mega-donor Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s proposed education secretary, exacerbates these problems with her advocacy for for-profit charter schools. As public school teachers in her home state of Michigan, we have experienced first-hand the devastation she can bring to public education and local communities.

Every day, teachers across Michigan work to provide students with the best education they need. Instead of offering support to teachers and schools, DeVos has led the charge to dismantle public schools in Michigan through campaign contributions to lawmakers who allow the proliferation of for-profit charter schools.

For decades, DeVos has promoted massive for-profit charter school expansion, emergency manager takeovers of school districts, and the shifting of public funds to private and religious schools.

Furthermore, DeVos founded the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), a political action committee that pushes for unregulated expansion of for-profit education in Michigan. DeVos has fought to allow for the proliferation of these for-profit charters — which strip funding from traditional public schools — with little concern regarding these schools’ performance. She’s even fought against efforts to impose oversight on for-profit charter school quality. If traditional public schools are expected to meet certain state standards, charter schools, responsible for educating about 140,000 students in Michigan each year, should be held to the same standards.

As a result of DeVos’ efforts, Michigan has become the testing ground and Wild West for for-profit charter schools in the United States. Needless to say, this test has failed, and our students nationwide deserve better.

While DeVos has been funneling money out of public schools, conditions in many schools remain poor, creating dangerous conditions detrimental to students’ learning. For example, Detroit Public Schools and the teachers’ union reached a settlement last week to address the deplorable conditions in their school buildings. Our students deserve an education secretary who will truly invest in our schools and districts, not divert money away from them into private, religious, and for-profit schools.

Betsy DeVos is not that secretary.

Todd Bloch

Science teacher

Warren

Zachary Sweet

Math & German teacher

Detroit Public Schools

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