Estados Unidos/Abril de 2017/Fuente: Times Bulletin
Resumen: Más de una docena de manifestantes pacíficos del noroeste de Ohio se reunieron en el estacionamiento de la Escuela Intermedia Van Wert antes de la llegada de la secretaria de Educación de Estados Unidos Betsy DeVos el jueves por la mañana. El grupo incluía miembros del Partido Demócrata del Condado de Van Wert y del Distrito 5 Indivisible de Ohio y otras entidades de base anti-Trump. Sus signos apoyaron la educación pública y denunciaron los recientes recortes de financiamiento al sector público y los aumentos a la elección de escuelas o escuelas privadas.
“Casi todos los estudiantes en el condado Van Wert asisten a la escuela pública”, dijo el manifestante Gay Garman. “Cuando se quitan los fondos de las escuelas públicas y se dan a las escuelas privadas, los ricos se hacen más ricos y los pobres se hacen más pobres. Una vez más, las personas pequeñas están recibiendo el eje y el 1 por ciento se están beneficiando “. El nuevo presupuesto de la administración Trump lanzado a mediados de marzo reduce drásticamente el financiamiento para el Departamento de Educación en un 13.5 por ciento, o $ 9.2 mil millones. Bajo el nuevo presupuesto, la administración Trump quiere gastar 1.400 millones de dólares para expandir vales en escuelas públicas y privadas, lo que conduce a un financiamiento de 20.000 millones de dólares al año. Alrededor de $ 250 millones de estos fondos se destinarán a un programa de elección de escuelas privadas, mientras que $ 168 millones serán reservados para escuelas charter. Un adicional de mil millones de dólares se destinaría al título I, un programa para estudiantes desfavorecidos, cuya estructura actual se opone a muchos legisladores.
More than a dozen peaceful protesters from northwest Ohio gathered in the parking lot at Van Wert Middle School prior to United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s arrival Thursday morning. The group included members of the Van Wert County Democratic Party and Ohio Indivisible District 5 and other grassroots anti-Trump entitities.
Their signs supported public education and denounced recent funding cuts to the public sector and increases to school choice or private schools.
“Nearly all students in Van Wert County attend public school,” protester Gay Garman said. “When they take away funding from public schools and give it to the private schools, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Again, the small people are getting the shaft and the 1 percent are benefiting.”
The Trump administration’s new budget released in mid-March slashes funding for the Education Department by 13.5 percent, or $9.2 billion. Under the new budget, the Trump administration wants to spend $1.4 billion to expand vouchers in public and private schools, leading up to an eventual $20 billion a year in funding. About $250 million of these funds will go toward a private school-choice program, while $168 million will be set aside for charter schools. An additional $1 billion would go toward Title I, a program for disadvantaged students whose current structure is opposed by many lawmakers.
Trump’s budget plan would remove $2.4 billion in grants for teacher training and $1.2 billion in funding for summer- and after-school programs.
The protesters came from Van Wert, Wood, Mercer and Hancock counties with representation from bigger and smaller municipalities.
Van Wert resident Dan Miller would have liked to share his views with DeVos.
“I would tell Betsy that Ohio has been a petri dish for school choice policy and it hasn’t gone nearly as well as planned or they would have you believe it is going. She just needs to look at the facts,” Miller said. “There aren’t even any private schools in Van Wert County so our money that is diverted to school choice is going out of the county and even the state. We need our money to go to our schools for our students.”
Public schools are held to rigorous state standards and testing. The group cited accountability and oversight as problems with School Choice.
“Private schools schools are not assessed or held accountable like the public schools are,” Miller added. “Her solution to the education issue is more for urban areas, not rural Ohio. Our public schools are the heart or our communities. They bring everyone together for events and activities.”
The protest also became a teaching moment for students in Jeff Kallas’s government/current events class. Student Nathan Murphy agreed with some of what DeVos has been saying about public education.
“If a public school is failing, a student should have the right to go to a better school,” Murphy said. “However, if a school is doing well and is successful and shows it is providing a good education, the money shouldn’t be taken away.”
Murphy was glad DeVos was visiting his school and seeing public education firsthand.
“I think DeVos needs to educate herself on what public schools do and provide for their students and community and she seems to lack knowledge on a lot of the laws governing public education,” Murphy said. “Hopefully she’ll learn something here today, too.”