President Donald Trump’s secretary of education is visiting Florida for two days this week — but she isn’t stopping by any of the schools she actually oversees.
Betsy DeVos will instead visit Holy Comforter Episcopal School, Florida State University High School and Bethel Christian Academy, reported the Pensacola News Journal.
“It’s obvious that the secretary and our federal government have very little respect for our traditional public school system,” said Rocky Hanna, superintendent of Leon County Schools. “And it’s insulting that she’s going to visit the capital of the state of Florida, to visit a charter school, a private school and a voucher school.”
The conservative DeVos has long been a strong supporter of charter and private schools, and the head of the state’s largest teachers union said she’s not surprised the education secretary won’t step foot in public schools during her two-day visit.
“DeVos has never committed to the basic premise that all schools that receive public funding should be held to the same standards of accountability,” said Joanne McCall, president of the Florida Education Association.
The education secretary backs a Trump proposal to cut federal spending on public education by $9 billion, while diverting an additional $1.4 billion to school choice programs, $250 million to private schools and $168 million to charter schools.
The president of the Leon County Republican Party accused the local school superintendent of politicizing the visit by the political figure.
“What should be ‘insulting’ to the citizens of Tallahassee is that their elected official decided to lead partisan attacks rather than focusing on the needs of teachers and students,” said Evan Power, the local GOP official.