Members of Congress have formed a new interest group to support public schools. The formation of the caucus was announced in a press conference Tuesday, where Members of Congress spoke alongside the Presidents of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. The Public Education Caucus has reportedly been in the works for over a year, but members said the election of Donald Trump added a new urgency to their efforts.
Representative Mark Takano (D-CA), one of the founding members of the caucus, said that Trump’s election and the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education could “cripple our public schools and punish the millions of students who attend them,” adding that her lack of experience in the public school system gives her “an incredibly narrow view of public education in America.” Takano also expressed concern that DeVos and the President-elect will not work to protect LGBT and other vulnerable students. “I don’t have confidence Betsy DeVos has the background or history or commitment to make sure every students’ rights are enforced,” he told reporters.
Other members of the caucus include Democratic Representatives Mark Pocan (WI), Alma Adams (NC), Suzanne Bonamici (OR), Rosa DeLauro (CT), Mark DeSaulnier (CA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Jared Polis (CO), Jamie Raskin (MD) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ). Members say they hope to have legislators from the Republican Party join them as well.
Rebecca Klein, “Democrats Form Congressional Caucus to Support Public Education,” Huffington Post Education, January 10, 2017.
Andrew Ujifusa, “New House Education Caucus, Union Leaders Continue Anti-Betsy DeVos Push,” Education Week: Politics K-12, January 10, 2017.