In the wake of the vote to confirm Betsy DeVos’ appointment as Secretary of Education, I am compelled to write an open letter to every Senate Republican who voted for her.
When I got up this morning, I hoped and prayed that one… just ONE of you would wake up with a conscience. I held out until the last moment thinking you would put politics aside, and do as so many of your constituents called, emailed, faxed, tweeted you to do-and reject an unqualified, inexperienced, unethical billionaire to take the lead at the DOE. I hoped one of you would look at yourself in the mirror and realize this was not about party and politics, but about giving voices to so many children who are voiceless. Our prayers were unanswered and all the calls to vote against her were completely futile. You voted party. And if you didn’t vote party, you voted with ignorance. Either way, it didn’t end well for any of us. And now we are hanging our heads wondering how we got here, and we must figure out how to move on with little faith in our government, a lot of concern for the future of public education, and we hope the damage won’t be irreparable.
But while we do this, do something for us. I call on every one of you to get out of your ivory tower and go back to your home state for a visit. This time visit a school in an inner city. Meet the administrators, have conversations with teachers and students and explain why they may soon have to do more with less. Ask them what they need and how you can help equip them to be successful. Go into the community and talk to parents, ask about their struggles to feed and clothe their children, look at the resources offered in their communities. Look them all square in the eye and tell them why you voted for Mrs. DeVos. Recognize that your perceptions of these schools, students and families are based on your own biases and the people around you who feed you what they want you to hear.
And when you think you’ve heard enough, go to another school and do the same thing. Listen to parents talk about their struggles, listen to teachers talk about their jobs, and their undying commitment to the children they teach. And for God’s sake, don’t take cameras, reporters, or anyone else with you, because Senators it’s not all about you.
Of the people, by the people, and for the people. Don’t ever forget that because you may not have represented the voices of your constituents with your vote today. You see we still believe a person should have some qualifications for their job-and do their job-even in the ivory tower.
We will remain steadfast that someone should hear the voices of the children. From where you’re sitting, it must be hard to hear any voices other than your own.
These are my reflections for today 2/7/17