Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

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Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos assures teacher union officials she will not be leaving the Department of Education. Jason Gonzales has the story in USA Today.

During a speech in Nashville on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos called for education reform groups to continue the fight for school choice and said rumors of her departure are false.

She also issued a warning to teachers unions and “defenders of the status quo” that she is just getting settled into her post as President Donald Trump’s education secretary.

“Allow me to borrow a line from the great American author Mark Twain, ‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’ ”

“I’m not going anywhere. In fact I’m just getting started.”

“First of all, it is important to talk about the role of education and talk about public education,” she said to about 1,100 people from across the nation gathered at the Omni Nashville Hotel. “We are at a time where we must rethink how to define public education. Any school and setting that benefits students is to the benefit of the public.”

She said the nation remains at risk, a reference to former President Ronald Reagan’s landmark education report, because it is falling behind other countries.

DeVos cited a recent Gallup poll that shows Americans are dissatisfied with the overall educational system.

The most recent Gallup poll in August shows that although satisfaction in the United States’ K-12 education system saw an uptick from 2016, about 52 percent in 2017 are dissatisfied.

“That is unacceptable,” DeVos said.

“This is inexcusable and this is truly un-American,” she said. “We can — we must — do better.”

Jim Wrye, Tennessee Education Association spokesman and lobbyist “fired back” at Secretary De Vos, claiming, “She talks about union bosses, but this is a right-to-work state. The Tennessee teachers union is voluntary. . . .”

In 2011 Tennessee changed from traditional monopoly bargaining to “collaborative conferencing” involving all professional employees’ organizations that have at least 15% support among the bargaining unit teachers.

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