OAKLAND, Calif. - President Trump's Secretary of Education nominee was approved by a senate committee Monday, despite efforts by senate democrats to halt the proceedings.
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Hundreds of people gathered at the Federal Building in Oakland Tuesday to rally against Betsy DeVos, President Trump's pick for education secretary. The demonstrators carried more than poster board signs, many brought teddy bears.
"I remember during the hearings, somebody said, 'Should there be guns in schools?' and DeVos said, 'Well if there's grizzly bears outside they need to have guns,' which makes no sense," said Rich Nosek of Berkeley.
"She should have worded things differently," said Founding Board Member for the American Federation for Children Kevin Chavous. "But she doesn't believe that guns should be in schools."
Chavous sat right behind DeVos at her confirmation hearing, where she gave more than three hours of testimony, on Jan. 17. Both Chavous and DeVos are founding board members of the non=profit, American Federation for Children. He believes DeVos is an excellent choice for education secretary, someone capable of reaching across the aisle.
"She has supported not just charter schools and choice schools," Chavous said. "She supported traditional public schools, but she has also been very bipartisan in her approach."
Many in Oakland fear DeVos will try to privatize education since her non-profit is pro-charter and pro-school voucher.
"Because of the voucher program, which might seem like a nice idea that kids can pick a private school or catholic school, but for kids with disabilities, that's not an option," said Julia Martin of the SFUSD Special Education Community.
"I had my own kids in public schools, and our school took a position against the vouchers because we really believe that public education is what's needed," said Jeanie Dooha, a former teacher, and school counselor.
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Another concern is DeVos' lack of experience. She has never attended, worked in, nor sent her own children to public schools.