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Sen. Warren Gets Assist in Opposition to Betsy DeVos From Mass. Charters Group

By Andrew Ujifusa — January 11, 2017 1 min read
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Like many Democrats, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a member of the Senate education committee, is among many Democrats to express opposition to Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be education secretary. Unlike other Democrats, Warren has her home-state charter school association in her corner.

On Monday, the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association sent a letter to Warren saying that her support for vouchers, and her backing for charter schools in Michigan that reportedly suffer from “lax oversight” are concerning. Along with some Democratic members of the House, the Massachusetts charter group says her record should worry supporters of public education.

“If these reports are true, we are deeply concerned that efforts to grow school choice without a rigorous accountability system will reduce the quality of charter schools across the country,” states the letter, which was signed by 16 members of the charter association’s board of directors. “We hope you agree that quality, not quantity, should be the guiding principle of charter expansion. Without high levels of accountability, the model fails.”

Warren declined to speak with an Education Week reporter on Tuesday about DeVos. A spokesperson for Warren did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the letter. UPDATE: Warren spokesperson Lacey Rose responded by referring to a letter Warren wrote to DeVos expressing concerns about her nomination.

Other charter school backers, however, were not happy with the letter, including Thomas B. Fordham President Michael Petrilli:

Rather than attacking charter school accountability, her supporters say, DeVos has a track record of prioritizing charter oversight, including a school accountability model based on A-F grades.

Read the full letter from the Massachusetts charter school group.

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