BELLEVUE — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is coming to the Seattle area next Friday, Oct. 13 to be keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the Washington Policy Center, a conservative corporate-funded think tank that pushes privatization of the public school system, among other things.
The Equity in Education Coalition, which includes the Washington State Labor Council, AFT Washington, Washington Education Association and others (see the whole list), is planning a counter rally outside the event at 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, 900 Bellevue Way NE. All union members and community supporters of quality public schools are encouraged to attend. Check out the Facebook event page and then RSVP here.
According to AFT Washington’s event flier, here’s why the union is protesting her appearance:
She is clearly hostile toward efforts to curb institutionalized racism in the student loan industry. (link)
► Rollback of efforts to push student loan servicers to provide better options to borrowers than merely drive them into forbearance,
► New loan guidelines that don’t require loan providers to have Spanish language directions or websites,
► Hiring debt collection agencies with a history of inaccurate communication and abusive practices,
► No longer granting Borrower Defense Discharges – for when a college defrauds a student, the student has a legal right to not repay their loans.
► Rolling back on commitment to require that for-profit colleges provide Gainful Employment to graduating students.
She has scaled back Investigations into civil rights violations, including sexual harassment and attacks on transgender persons. (link)
She has no experience in public education, and has instead spent years wielding her family’s billions in wealth to undermine it. She and Trump are on record promoting private, for-profit schooling with little or no regulation, transparency, accountability, or respect for civil rights or the Constitution’s separation of church and state. (link)
She has cut access to higher education. (link) The Trump/DeVos proposed budget would cut $143 billion from federal student loans over the next 10 years, and also proposes cuts to the rainy day fund for Pell Grants.
The AFT Washington contingent is planning to meet at 4:30 p.m. on the southwest corner of NE 8th St. & Bellevue Way NE (in front of Crate & Barrel) before heading to the 5 p.m. rally outside the hotel. At 7 p.m., a social is planned for rally participants at Parlor Billiards, 700 NE Bellevue Way. For more information, about transportation and parking at the Oct. 13 DeVos protest, download the AFT flier.