#RedforEd Protest Against Secretary of Education DeVos Fizzles in Arizona

#RedforEd photo by Gage Skidmore for Arizona Education Association.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

A #RedforEd protest against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos fizzled in Arizona on Wednesday.

“On Wednesday evening, dozens of protesters stood outside the Westin Kierland where ALEC is holding its meeting. Many of the protesters were with Puente Arizona or the #RedForEd movement,” Arizona Central reported:

The chanted “DeVos has got to go” and held up signs that read “ALEC not welcome here” and “Betsy DeVos is no Betsy Ross.”

Katie Nash, a Chandler science teacher, said she attended the protest to oppose any statewide expansion of voucher programs. DeVos, she said, champions vouchers but ignores public schools.

“She keeps pushing for vouchers to try to privatize schooling,” she said.

The turnout of protesters was below what organizers had hoped for, and far less than the tens of thousands that turned out to support the demands of the #RedforEd movement when the national movement launched in Arizona in the spring of 2018.

Arizona Educators United (AEU), the local #RedforEd group, aggressively promoted attendance at the protest by Arizona public school teachers for well over a month.

Unphased by the small group of #RedforEd protesters outside the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting, Secretary DeVos delivered a speech promoting charter schools and parental choice, as Fox 10 Phoenix reported:

“Arizona is a real leader in giving parents and students the kind of freedom that they need to find their right fit for education, and I’m so grateful for the example that you are setting here,” DeVos said, seated next to Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on the sidelines of a conference of conservative legislators.

DeVos is pushing her plan to create “Education Freedom Scholarships” allowing businesses and individuals to get 100% federal tax credits for donations to scholarship-granting groups. The Republican is a major backer of school vouchers and formerly led the American Federation for Children, which promotes the programs in Arizona and other states.

Arizona has a similar program that uses tax credits to fund private school tuition scholarships. It also has an “Empowerment Scholarship Account” school voucher program that takes state general fund money and funnels it to more than 6,000 private or home-schooled students

As Breitbart News reported in February 2018:

A well-funded and subversive leftist movement of teachers in the United States threatens to tilt the political balance nationwide in the direction of Democrats across the country as Republicans barely hang on in key states that they need to hold for President Donald Trump to win re-election and for Republicans to have a shot at retaking the House and holding onto their Senate majority.

This teachers union effort, called #RedforEd, has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally. Its stated goals–higher teacher pay and better education conditions–are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.

But while the #RedforEd movement is growing outside of Arizona and racked up a significant political victory with the defeat of Kentucky’s Republican Governor Matt Bevin, in November the poor turnout at Wednesday’s protests suggests that the movement may be losing steam in the state of its origin.

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