“Callous and Clueless”: Ohio Educators Slam Betsy DeVos’ Failed Coronavirus Response Ahead of Closed-Door Event

Ahead of Betsy DeVos’s closed-door virtual event in Ohio today, educators from across the state slammed the Trump administration’s failed coronavirus response which is hurting students, teachers and parents — including their threat to withhold federal education funding and inability to provide guidance to safely reopen schools. Read more below:

The Columbus Dispatch: “Callous and clueless” – Ohio teachers unions slam Trump’s call to fully reopen schools. “Democrats and Ohio’s teacher unions blasted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as ‘callous and clueless’ for her call to fully reopen schools this fall amid a surge in coronavirus infections. ‘Two words come to mind: callous and clueless,’ said Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. ‘Secretary DeVos’ comments about just utterly disregarding the health and safety threat (of) reopening schools without clear public health guidance imposes was actually pretty shocking.’”

The New York Times: “For one, her Federalist Society appearances — she also spoke to Alabama chapters Monday ahead of the Senate primary runoff there — are closed to reporters. That’s left Democrats and local teachers’ unions with an unobstructed runway to bash her in the press. The head of Ohio’s largest teachers’ union referred to her call to reopen schools as ‘callous and clueless,’ a quotation that was repurposed as a headline in the Columbus Dispatch.”

WSYX: Ohio educators push back on ‘threats’ from White House to reopen schools this fall. “‘It is disturbing to get a phone call from a teacher whose husband has lung disease and diabetes and who is fearful that if she goes back to work, she’ll be putting her husband’s life in jeopardy,’ said Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.”

WSYX: DeVos Threatens District Money. “Ohio educators are calling the head of the U.S. Department of Education reckless as she pushes for all schools to open within these next few weeks. […] ‘I find it shameful that Betsy DeVos is going to be doing a virtual event in Ohio tomorrow, talking to the Federalist [Society], but she’s not reaching out to any educators.”

WCMH: “Today, the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers participated in a roundtable, both groups expressing concerns on these comments. […] ‘I am deeply concerned that, to be blunt, teachers, students, and their families may die from exposure in  schools. Now, all of us want to reopen schools, but we do not want to take unnecessary risks.’”

WDTN: “At the same time, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made it clear over the weekend the only plan she wants is one where all students head back to school, even threatening districts with cutting federal funding if they don’t. […]  The Ohio Federation of Teachers says that there is nothing educators want more than to be back in school, but they differ from DeVos in one big way: ‘We also prioritize health and safety. It’s very clear that Betsy DeVos is just following in the footsteps of Donald Trump.’”