As a fierce advocate for under-served students and a leader of an independent public charter school I am not convinced that Betsy DeVos' nomination as Education Secretary will improve educational outcomes for all. Together, administrators, educators, concerned citizens, families and lawmakers can and must work to insure that all students are given the opportunity to succeed. Betsy DeVos' nomination does not send that message. Instead, we may be facing unfunded mandates, reductions in Title I monies that are directed towards educating those in the lowest socio-economic class and inconsistency in how resources are allocated depending on where one lives. In an era when we need unity, Ms. DeVos sends a message of division. In an era when the quality of education is determined by zip code, Ms. DeVos wants to "defund public schools". In an era when insuring that our students are safe at school, Ms. DeVos believes that allowing guns in school should be "left to the locals". Ms. Devos believes and has financially supported school choice and is convinced that "it is time to shift the debate from what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want for their kids". What about students who are homeless? "Who live in poverty?" Who are incarcerated? Who are disabled? Whose primary language is not English? Whose "moms and dads" have been deported? These students have no choice. Privatizing public education will not solve the social problems we face in the United States that have the greatest impact on educational outcomes. Let’s "shift the debate" and choose to support educational quality for all.
Dr. Barbara McKeon
Dr. McKeon’s career has focused on serving the needs of the most vulnerable populations. She has written numerous articles and spoken extensively on topics in education including restorative justice, improving school culture and inspiring leadership, most recently as a Keynote Speaker for the Affinity Teaching Alliance in England. Dr. McKeon serves on two Mayoral committees in New York City focused on reducing the pipeline to prison for minority students and on building Community Schools. She is the grandmother of 4, a clown, a fitness instructor and appears in the Guinness Book of World Records!
She is currently Head of School at Broome Street Academy, a high school for homeless and foster care children in New York City.