Rep. Holscher delivers local groups’ letters opposing ‘school choice’ initiatives to Betsy DeVos at JCCC visit

Johnson County Community College.
Johnson County Community College.

Lenexa Rep. Cindy Holscher used the occasion of Betsy DeVos’s visit to Johnson County Community College on Thursday to hand deliver a selection of letters from area education advocates opposing the “school choice” efforts favored by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

At a reception inside JCCC, Holscher approached DeVos and gave her a folder with letters from the MainStream Coalition, Education First Shawnee Mission, Stand Up Blue Valley and Game on for Kansas Schools.

Here’s the update Holscher posted on her Facebook page about the exchange:

This evening I was invited to attend a reception for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at JCCC. To say Sec. DeVos and I are are on different pages regarding our views on education would be an understatement. DeVos favors charter schools, vouchers and privatization. I oppose those measures and believe we must invest in ALL children through our public schools.

I took the opportunity tonight to present her with an envelope containing my written statement (outlining the importance of investing in public schools) along with similar statements from local education advocacy groups. I also invited her to come visit one of our award winning public schools.

We will keep making our voices heard at every opportunity!!!!

Below is copy from the letter submitted by Education First Shawnee Mission:

Dear Secretary DeVos,

As public education advocates and mothers, we are proud to support our Kansas public schools. Our organization has worked hard to get pro-public school candidates elected to our school board and state legislature, because we believe every American child should have access to an excellent education. We are extremely dismayed by the proposed changes your Department of Education may make that will affect our children, teachers and communities.

We reject the notion that “school choice” in the form of vouchers, which allow individuals to use public funds to pay for private schools, is beneficial for our kids. This essentially reduces public school funding in favor of private schools. There is a growing body of evidence-based research that shows these programs do not work. The research shows that moving more children into private school would not improve American children’s education outcomes. It would, however, almost certainly defund public schools and cripple our education system.

We encourage you to reconsider your position on public school funding and ask you to commit to providing public school students, teachers and staff the funding they need to ensure every American child gets an exemplary education.

The Members of Education First Shawnee Mission