NBJC Opposes Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, opposes the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Education. NBJC’s Executive Director and CEO, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, released the following statement in opposition to her nomination:
“The U.S. Department of Education is the federal agency responsible for overseeing and enforcing public policies that impact the education of our nation’s 50.4 million students that attend public elementary and secondary schools. President-elect Trump has nominated one the most polarizing and least experienced individuals to take on this role that will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the trajectory of the future of our public education system and our democracy. As a billionaire and long-time proponent of both school voucher programs and unchecked charter schools, Betsy DeVos has absolutely no experience in the classroom or working with public school students or the educators, families, and communities that support them. She, her family, and network of affluent friends in Michigan have made that state ground zero for the destruction of American public education. In addition, she and family have singlehandedly supplied an amazing $4 million to the campaigns of the Republican Senators who will ultimately decide whether she is confirmed. This is the definition of pay-to-play in our politics.
“At NBJC, we are even more concerned about her and her family’s record on providing monetary support to efforts to prohibit same-sex marriage and invest in organizations that promote so-called conversion therapy. As the nation’s education secretary, Mrs. DeVos will have broad power to implement policies that dismantle protections for our LGBTQ students, including blocking our transgender students from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with in our nation’s public schools. This is simply unacceptable and our children deserve so much better.
“Last summer in our nation’s capital, NBJC in collaboration with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and the National Education Association, hosted the White House Summit on African American LGBTQ Youth. This first of its kind convening was purposed with highlighting the unique opportunities to support the learning and development of Black LGBTQ youth. This weekend of hope and empowerment for our community brought together youth, education professionals and advocates, and families alike to highlight the policies and strategies that would produce welcoming and supportive environments in which the cognitive, social, and emotional needs of Black LGBTQ youth are nurtured. NBJC is incredibly concerned by Betsy DeVos’ public record of support for failing charter schools and voucher programs, lack of experience in public education, and history of more than questionable contributions to entities that would hinder the advancement of diverse students, including Black LGBTQ students. We will do all we can to see that her nomination receives the scrutiny and oversight that it is due. Our nation’s education future depends on it.”