Educators show concern about DeVos as confirmation hearing begins

Right now, President-elect Trump's pick for education secretary is taking questions on Capitol Hill.

Billionaire Betsy DeVos is a West Michigan native, and a big advocate for charter schools and schools of choice who's donated millions to GOP lawmakers. But Democrats and teachers have expressed doubt over her policy plans.

>>WATCH: We are streaming the DeVos hearing on the FOX 2 Facebook page. CLICK HERE.

Although many local schools are closed due to the weather like Warren Woods Middle School, many public school teachers are still wearing red in support of a nation-wide movement.

Many public school teachers are wearing red to demonstrate their concern over the appointment of Grand Rapids native and longtime education donor Betsy DeVos as the new secretary of education.

"I just hope that because teachers are protesting DeVos' nomination, that she will then come and listen to our concerns before creating any policies that dismantle our public education system," said Todd Bloch, MAMSE President.

President of the Michigan Association of Middle School Educators Todd Bloch says aside from DeVos' lack of experience working in education, statements she's made on upending the public school system moving toward possible privatization, is not what students need.

"That's very scary because it becomes very inequitable for all different people," Bloch said. "Depending on your background and the diversity of your area."

Other educational leaders in Michigan support DeVos' plan, which is expected to be detailed further during her confirmation.

"We're all concerned about public education," said Dan Quisenberry, Michigan Association of Public School Academies president. "But I think the extreme concern in unwarranted. She cares about kids. She's been an advocate for over 30 years."

Quisenberry oversees all charter schools in the state of Michigan. He believes DeVos' methods will particularly help schools struggling in Detroit.

"More than half of the residents of the city have chosen a charter school, which means there are still residents of the city of Detroit that didn't have to leave the city to find a public school that works for them," he said.

Both sides hope now for collaboration, for the sake of the kids.

"The biggest thing now is educators feel like our voices aren't being heard at the table," Bloch said.

"We want to hear everyone's voice but I think they'll be encouraged once the secretary's been appointed," said Quisenberry.
 

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