Kent-Ionia Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class

Labor stands united against Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

GRAND RAPIDS January 30, 2017– As the Senate prepares to vote on the nomination of devosnoBetsy DeVos for the position of Secretary of Education, labor leaders from across the state of Michigan and the country stand united in opposition to her leading our nation’s education department. School advocates also have come out opposed to DeVos, who has no experience in education other than making millions of dollars in donations in support of private and charter schools.

Below is a compilation of statements from union and education leaders in response to President Donald Trump’s nomination of DeVos:

“Betsy DeVos is not well-read or experienced in public education, she’s not a leader. Rather she is a person that puts profits over people, ideology over real intellectual understanding, and purchased influence over gained trust.  If she was actually successful in bringing improvements to our education system, as she has claimed, she would have some modicum of support from education experts and organizations, and not just right-wing groups.” –Sean Egan (IBEW 275), Kent-Ionia Labor Council president

“It’s hard to imagine a worse choice to lead the U.S. Department of Education. Betsy DeVos has spent millions of dollars working to dismantle and destroy public education in Michigan and across the country. By selecting a fellow billionaire who has been so openly hostile to hardworking teachers and public school employees, this should send a strong message to every parent in America that Donald Trump isn’t on the side of working families, and has no interest in improving education for America’s students.” –Ron Bieber, Michigan AFL-CIO president

“In Michigan, we know firsthand how disastrous DeVos’ ideology is, as she has spent decades wielding her family’s money and influence to destroy public education and turn our schools and students over to for-profit corporations.” –Steven Cook, Michigan Education Association president

“Policies she’s supported – increasing standardized testing and punishing teachers, students, and families – have done nothing to improve education. In fact, DeVos policies have consistently left our most vulnerable students behind.” –David Hecker, AFT-Michigan president

“Betsy DeVos is everything Donald Trump said is wrong in America—an ultra-wealthy heiress who uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda that is opposed by the majority of voters. Installing her in the Department of Education is the opposite of Trump’s promise to drain the swamp.” –Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president

“During the campaign, President-elect Trump complained that our kids aren’t learning, yet his nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, has spent her career undermining our public education system at the expense of students and teachers alike. She is a billionaire lobbyist, who has used her family’s wealth to steer public funds to private schools.” –Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president

“Betsy DeVos possesses none of the previous qualifications, nor does she have any experience in public education at any level, does not possess a degree in any educational field, has never attended a public school, nor has she ever sent her children to a public school.” -From a resolution passed by the Ann Arbor Board of Education

“It’s clear now that Betsy DeVos sees education simply as job training and not a process in itself to strengthen the civic role of citizens.” –David Britten, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools superintendent

TAKE ACTION! All Democratic Senators have already committed to a “No” vote on DeVos, including Michigan Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters. You can still express your opposition to DeVos by making a call to three critical Republican votes on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee:

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): 202-224-6665

  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): 202-224-2523

  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): 202-224-4343

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), committee chair: 202-224-4944




Kent-Ionia Labor Council

The Kent-Ionia Labor Council, AFL-CIO is a coalition of west Michigan labor unions in Kent and Ionia Counties, based in Grand Rapids.

Address, phone, email

918 Benjamin NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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