A group of teachers from Mid-Missouri gathered Monday outside Sen. Roy Blunt’s office in downtown Columbia to protest Betsy DeVos’ nomination for secretary of education.
Blunt said in a statement last week that he looks forward to working with DeVos, but the Senate has not yet cast a full vote. The Senate is still deliberating over DeVos’ nomination, but is expected to make a decision around noon today.
Teachers traveled from as far as Kansas City to urge Blunt to vote no on DeVos.
One teacher, Nancy Copenhaver, taught business for 28 years at Moberly High School. She has been retired for 16 years and said it was important for her to come to the demonstration. She said she is disappointed in Blunt’s support of DeVos.
“We think that Senator Blunt having been a teacher himself and a local Missouri person should know the importance of public education in his state and not be supportive of her,” said Copenhaver.
Other teachers said they had concerns over DeVos’ lack of educational experience, her pulling of funding from public schools to private schools and her support of students with disabilities. MacKenzie Everett-Kennedy, one of the organizers of the protest and a language arts teacher at Hickman High School, said she wanted to voice her concerns over DeVos’ nomination.
“She doesn’t seem to be qualified in any capacity for this position, and we’re not even opposed to other Republican nominees,” said Everett-Kennedy. “It’s really just Betsy DeVos. Any other candidate we’d be okay with.”
Everett-Kennedy said she hopes the demonstration will show Blunt his constituents’ disapproval of DeVos as secretary of education. She said she hopes it will persuade Blunt to vote no on DeVos.