Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tangled with the National Education Association on Twitter, arguing that parents were better equipped than anyone else to say what was best for their children.
The exchange began with the NEA — the largest labor union in the United States — claiming in a Saturday tweet that professional educators knew “better than anyone” what children needed in order to grow and learn.
“Educators love their students and know better than anyone what they need to learn and thrive,” the tweet claimed.
DeVos responded, “You misspelled parents.”
You misspelled parents. https://t.co/uMc9ozCUS7
— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVos) November 14, 2022
The union pushed back, claiming that their goal was for educators to work alongside parents in an effort to ensure that all students had the necessary “resources and opportunities” that would provide the best learning environment possible.
“Together, families and educators are an essential team for advocating for the resources and opportunities all students need,” they said before taking a direct swipe at DeVos. “Out-of-touch billionaires, however, are not.”
Together, families and educators are an essential team for advocating for the resources and opportunities all students need. Out-of-touch billionaires, however, are not. https://t.co/I6gYIwZA0g
— NEA (@NEAToday) November 14, 2022
DeVos’ comment appeared to strike the tone that has been echoed by the American people in recent elections, however, as a number of school boards were flipped to Republican control in Tuesday’s midterm election.
Parents became increasingly involved in school board meetings during and after the COVID pandemic, fighting back against COVID-related masking and lockdown policies as well as sounding the alarm about curriculum concerns after virtual learning brought some of the issues children were studying — quite literally — to the kitchen table.
Parents pushed back after the teachers unions fought to keep virtual learning in place long after it became apparent that it was doing more harm than good — particularly with regard to mental health — and in an effort to shut down parental protests, the National School Board Association called on the United States Justice Department to treat parents who attended meetings as thought they were “domestic terrorists.”
Reclaiming parental voices in education was not just a winning issue for school board candidates, either — Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin rode to victory, in part, on the wave of anger inspired by Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s claim that parents had no right to weigh in on the curriculum being taught in their children’s schools. Similarly, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education law gave him a boost ahead of his reelection.