Chanting “DeVos is wrong! East Hartford strong!” parents, students, teachers and other district workers rallied Tuesday morning to counter the U.S. education secretary’s recent testimony about public schools.
Local teachers union president Annie Irvine told a sign-waving crowd on the front lawn at East Hartford High School that their response showed “Betsy DeVos messed with the wrong district!”
Later in the morning, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said at a press conference in the school lobby that higher graduation rates in East Hartford and other urban school districts are reason for celebration, not condemnation. Both Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said DeVos failed to do her homework when relaying the experience of one local student who graduated 17 years ago.
“To tell old stories about educational institutions and to fail to draw a line is really unfair to the great faculty members, principal and students at a school like this,” Malloy said.
Speaking in support of President Donald Trump‘s proposed budget before a House subcommittee recently, DeVos told of a meeting with a young man who called East Hartford High “nothing more than adult day care … a dangerous day care.”
Michael — who has since been identified as a 2000 graduate of the high school — described classrooms where misbehaving students made teaching impossible. He said he limped along with dismal grades, but graduated anyway.
DeVos, who supports greater school choice, told the committee that Michael’s story illustrates the need for expanded access to quality education.
“Research shows that increasing education options can have positive effects on students generally, and an even greater impact on poor and minority students,” she said.
East Hartford remains among the lowest performing districts in the state. The College Board’s “college and career readiness” benchmarks for the SAT are 480 for reading and writing and 530 for…