An Open Letter to Senator Toomey, (R-PA)
Dear Senator Toomey:
I grew up in a working class family and neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. I was the first in my family to get a college degree, made possible by the then free City University of New York system, an institution that enabled many working and lower middle class kids to achieve the American Dream. I have been an educator for 32 years, 25 of those at a public institution in Philadelphia (Temple University). During that time, I have enabled other kids, like the one I was, to reach, dream, and land higher than the place from where they came. But, now, that dream is in jeopardy.
I am extremely fearful of what the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, will do to public education (K-16) in this country. In the confirmation hearings, she demonstrated her total lack of knowledge about public education and the federal laws that govern it (e.g IDEA), and, even worse, a lack of desire to learn about public education. The unregulated system of charter schools that she financially supported in Michigan has been an unmitigated disaster. The danger she poses to public education has been articulated by some very conservative stakeholders. Eli Broad, a major investor in charter schools, called her “unqualified and “unprepared,” and cited her support for unregulated charters and vouchers as particularly problematic in his letter to Senators McConnell and Schumer. The Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, an organization representing seventy charter schools in that state, sent a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren expressing concern that “efforts to grow school choice without a rigorous accountability system will reduce the quality of charter schools across the country.” Two of your Republican colleagues, Senators Murkowski and Collins, voted against her in the full Senate. I am totally perplexed as to the reasons why you voted to confirm her.
Can you please tell me how you think Ms. DeVos will improve public education in this county given her rather poor record in Michigan and her total lack of understanding of our most cherished institution?
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this letter. I am genuinely interested in your response.