Kudos To SW School Board For Standing With Its Teachers In DeVos Opposition

It isn’t often that local policy making boards take public stances on matters on the confirmation of federal officials.

That’s what made it noteworthy that the Southwestern Central School Board of Education acquiesced to the Southwestern Teachers Association’s public opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. The letter lays out several reasons to oppose DeVos’ nomination, including use of taxpayer dollars earmarked for special education to pay for private schools, a lack of understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, lack of understanding of the role of the Secretary of Education and unfamiliarity with any aspect of higher education policy, Pell grants, and/or tuition assistance.

Local boards tend to stay out of disputes that happen at levels above them. Often that sort of discretion is a good thing. Local matters should take up more time for local boards than discussion of resolutions at the state and federal level. As we have seen with Race to the Top and the intertwining of federal dollars with the Common Core State Standards, the U.S. Secretary of Education does have quite a say in the way local school boards run their schools. If local boards disagree with DeVos, now is the time to register that dissatisfaction publicly.

Kudos, then, to the Southwestern Central School Board of Education for standing with its teachers in their opposition to DeVos. We hope all local school boards are paying attention to DeVos. If they fear DeVos would be a bad fit for local taxpayers and students, they should register those concerns now, before it is too late.