Thousands protest against Betsy DeVos in Holland

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HOLLAND, Mich. -- Thousands of people showed up at midday Saturday to protest the nomination of Grand Rapids' Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Secretary of Education.

The rally took place at Centennial Park, located at 250 Central Ave. in Holland. The participants marched through the park while chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, Betsy DeVos has got to go," "Public schools are not for sale, Betsy wants to see us fail" and "Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like."

The crowd turned out to be much larger than had been expected, numbering into the thousands, and was made up of both liberals and conservatives alike. Many of them were carrying signs.

President Trump nominated the Grand Rapids billionaire who grew up in Holland to the Cabinet post heading up the Education Department on Nov. 23, 2016. Her confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions wrapped up on Jan. 17 and her confirmation vote is slated for Jan. 31.

There also is a national protest scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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44 comments

  • KTT

    I see the one sign says ” Our children deserve better”. That’s exactly why Trump won and that’s exactly why Betsy was nominated. Public schools are a failure, She’ll do a great job of making our children’s lives better through better educational opportunities. The MEA and NEA union thugs that were in Centennial park don’t care about the children and were just there to protect their turf and the union dues that propel the MEA and NEA liberal propaganda machine.

    • Helen Essenberg

      We object to tax monies going to private schools ,especially those with religious ties. Separation of church and state. Charter schools get to select the students can pick cream of the crop and leave the hard cases for the public schools. They are not mandated to teach the “challenged” students. The public schools have no such privilege.

      • steve thomas

        Helen, charter schools aren’t private. They’re public schools and are subject to the scrutiny and standards set by the state. The main difference is that they actually are largely successful and the K-12 system are failing. For example, the graduation rate in the Grand Rapids Public Schools is less than 50%! Would send your child into that cesspool of education? I wouldn’t.

      • Michigan Liberal

        Well said, Helen. And while the charter schools are “public” schools, they are also for-profit schools. They don’t answer to local school boards, they answer to shareholders and a board of directors. They don’t perform better than public schools, they don’t even perform better than private schools, and they aren’t held accountable in the same ways that public schools are held accountable. Failing charter schools are not shut down in Michigan the same way they are in many other states; they stay open forever, or as long as they are profitable to the corporations running them. No other state has more for-profit schools than Michigan, with Betsy DeVos’s help and Rick Snyder’s blessing. She is an ideologue with an agenda, and her “ideas” do not work for the better education of our children.

        Also, when did teachers become “thugs”? FFS.

  • eaglewood

    Bravo…..She has no qualifications or experience and her charter schools which are privately owned are a fiasco…The only reason she is getting this appointment is her Wealth and that is not a qualification. Contact your Representative like I did…..sad that Justin Amash supports her!

  • Chief Waukazoo

    It’s all about the MEA and NEA, tenure and how few work days there are. The unions don’t care about the kids, and they don’t want anything to change. Did the unions bus these people in, I wonder how many of them are even teachers, they’re probably getting paid by Soros. We are so fortunate that Betsy is willing to take this job and put up with all this crap!

    • Michigan Liberal

      Wow, Chief. You managed to get a whole lot of talking points into one sentence there. “Did the unions bus these people in, I wonder how many of them are even teachers, they’re probably getting paid by Soros.” I wonder when you last had an original thought.

        • Michigan Liberal

          My agenda is pretty simple. I believe in education for all, the best education money can buy. Not indoctrination, not religious brainwashing, not profit-producing tripe. Education. Even for the disabled kids, gasp. I’m not looking for a public school system made in the image of a billionaire society girl who apparently doesn’t even know what she doesn’t know, judging from her hearing. She bought her position. I want Congress to remember it isn’t for sale.

          • Little Mary

            Your vision of education is social science claptrap at the expense of hard science, mathematics, and basic English skills. I’m sure you’re an acolyte of Arne Duncan, Obama’s strawman from Chicago public schools, paid for by the ATF. Your version of the “best education money can buy” is way too expensive. You want Congress to remember that it isn’t for sale unless teachers are the ones selling it. Maybe it’s time that parents got a chance to determine what, and how, their children should learn, instead of the dancers in the Bolshoi Ballet making the decision for them.

          • KR Rayberry

            Also, you hit religious schools in your rant. Catholic and other religious schools have way more people graduating HS, not to mention around 80% of those who graduate the Catholic HS go on to college. The public schools don’t even come close. So leave your opinion to the side for a moment and compare the two sides equally.

  • steve thomas

    The people who are running their mouths about charter schools are largely speaking with little or no knowledge of those schools. If they’d take some of their precious time to look into what charter schools are, they’d be very surprised. Their “knowledge” is based on distortions, half-truths, and Democrats in political office who are, and have been, beholden to the largest labor union by far in our country, the NEA. Those that don’t know the truth about charter schools owe it to themselves to open their eyes and look into how they’ve been duped.

    • CJ Grossman

      Absolutely agree!! Educate yourselves first regarding charter schools before spewing lies and hate! Why am I always hearing and seeing the hate and violence from the “tolerant” left who supposedly stand for love and tolerance? By the way, there were hundreds of protestors, NOT thousands. Keep it real or you become irrelevant. May God bless Betsy DeVos, guide her, and protect her👍

  • Gwen

    Why is she so bad? I know she wants school vouchers and I think that would help everyone who wants their child to go to a private school. I no longer have children in school but I would have liked to sent my children to a private school. I’ve seen both sides of public and private schools and most of the teachers in private schools are there to teach not for the $90,000 a year pay

  • Laughing Out Loud

    I heard that half of the people in Detroit are functionally illiterate. I guess that’s the reason why the opposition has to resort to chants. So sad that they will soon have to work for a living…

    • steve

      Agreed. The first thing he probably said in the morning was “Hey, Sweetheart. Where’s the demonstration this week? And by the way, what are we protesting?”. By the way, WOOD had an article about support for DeVos by a group of alumni from Calvin. I didn’t see anything about it here. Did you?

  • Chris

    The greatest and baby boomer generation failed public schools and now you want a baby boomer to fix it. What I don’t like about her is she wants parents to have loans (vouchers don’t pay all) and she has investments in student loan collection service.

  • Janine Burke

    I like the idea of competitive schools. I like the voucher idea, too. Also, why should seniors have to pay a property tax where a portion goes to schools, and why siphon good tax dollars into a failed system? When I homeschooled I sure would have like to have had some extra money for books and supplies. If not a voucher, then a tax credit! Let parents take control of their children’s education. Parents should have choices!

  • KR Rayberry

    What the article doesn’t tell you…people were driving by the park (including me) yelling “school choice”.

    Most of these people are good people, and for the most part Holland schools are ok. But if I want to send my kids to the local Catholic School, I should sure be able to without being forced to pay for it out of my own pocket.

  • No PC for Me

    The Liberals want to ensure the liberal indoctrination system stays in our school system.
    Boys showering in the girls locker room, if they “identify” as a female.
    Or the new math ” common core”. 1+1= eleventy.
    Any attempt to keep Trump from draining the swamp.
    BTW. George Soros is funding the airport protests.

  • Hollander

    If it were not for Betsy DeVos’s father, downtown Holland would be a waste land.
    And consider how many thousands of jobs her family provide for west Michigan through more companies than i care to list..
    Yeah she din’t go to a public school, and look where she is. Has anyone ever got a job from a poor person?
    Yeah rich people bother be too, but the truth is the truth.