Why is Manitobaís Education Minister Praising Trumpís Anti-Public Education Secretary? 

April 23, 2020

WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberals are questioning PC Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen's praise of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, one of America's leading advocates for dismantling and defunding public schools.

Prior to being appointed Secretary of Education, DeVos spent years in Michigan pushing for "charter schools" that turned public schools private. While public schools were closed and defunded, the results for the private schools were a disaster as well.

The U.S. National Association of Charter School Authorizers found that Michigan "was found to have one of the lowest state ratings for holding charter school authorizers accountable for their schools' academic performance. The state received only three out of a possible 27 points when measured against the organization's own best practices."

"It's disturbing that the Minister of Education, who is supposed to be overseeing a massive overhaul in K-12 education, thinks Betsy DeVos is someone to emulate, when her track record is one of failure," said Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface and Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.

The U.S. National Education Association lists DeVos' record in dismantling and defunding public schools in favour of private, for-profit education. Devos supported a 13.5% cut in federal education funding, cut $3.9-billion in student grants, largely for African-American students, and endorsed plans to put guns in schools.

In the 2020 U.S. Federal Budget, DeVos backed a proposal to cut $8.5-billion from public schools.

The DeVos family has also paid armed protestors to protest COVID-19 shutdowns in Michigan.

"Everyone involved in education in Manitoba - whether public or private - should be concerned that the Minister of Education is allying himself with someone this extreme," said Lamont.

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