On Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a press conference in which she attacked public education, educators, and support staff about their response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. OEA President Alicia Priest had this to say in response:
“Betsy DeVos said public schools ‘just gave up’ this spring when a global pandemic shuttered districts across the country. Betsy DeVos and her administration don’t know public schools, and they don’t know Oklahoma. We found creative ways to teach and feed hundreds of thousands of Oklahoma children during an unparalleled health crisis, and we were proud to. These are our kids.
“Betsy DeVos and the president threatened to withhold funding for any schools that go online this fall. That is nothing short of irresponsible. Our children need more support during this crisis — not less. Federal education funding especially helps our students who need extra care, including children in poverty, students with disabilities, new readers, and those who are learning English. Betsy DeVos wants to turn her back on these children when they need us the most.
“Oklahoma educators will fight to protect our students and give them the best education possible, whether it’s during a funding crisis, in the wake of a natural disaster, or during a pandemic. We will also stand up for safe, healthy environments for our students and our staff. Sounds like Betsy DeVos is out of touch and throwing in the towel on our kids. Oklahoma teachers and support staff never did and never will ‘just give up’ on our students.”