Richmond, Va. - Today, national and Virginia education leaders made clear that Ed Gillespie’s embrace of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ policy agenda — and his acceptance of her family’s political donations — are set to be a major liability for the Republican nominee in the gubernatorial election.
On a press call, Virginia Education Association President Jim Livingston, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, National Education Association Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss, and State Senator Mamie Locke made clear that Gillespie’s DeVos-esque education plan — which includes vouchers that would siphon resources from schools — poses a threat to Virginia’s students.
The DeVos family has contributed $105,000 to Gillespie’s campaign, and the web of ties between DeVos and Gillespie stretches back nearly 15 years. During the 2004 election, Gillespie attended a fundraiser hosted by DeVos — then a major GOP donor — and told the Detroit News he believed Republicans would win Michigan because of DeVos’ work. As a gubernatorial candidate, the ties between the two have only become closer — and Gillespie has become a beneficiary of the DeVos family’s deep pockets.
“We believe at the Virginia Education Association that Ed Gillespie is absolutely the wrong person for the job,” said Jim Livingston, President of the Virginia Education Association. “There is clearly a direct line from the harmful education ideas of Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos to Ed Gillespie. The last thing that Virginia students need is for more money to be siphoned away from public schools and given to private interests.”
“Ed Gillespie can dress it up in any which way he wishes to, but the bottom line is he is a clone of Betsy DeVos. The agenda that Gillespie is pushing for is an agenda that hurts kids,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.
“Ed Gillespie and Betsy DeVos are pushing an education agenda that ignores civil rights protections for students and leaves them vulnerable to widespread discrimination,” saidPrincess Moss, Secretary-Treasurer of the National Education Association.“Gillespie is going to be front and center in rubber-stamping Betsy DeVos’ agenda to carry this out, and that will be harmful to Virginia students. Ralph Northam is the candidate who will work to make sure that every student and parent has the opportunity and support that they need to succeed. Ralph Northam is a friend of public education.”
“A vote for Ed Gillespie is a vote for Betsy DeVos,” said State Senator Mamie Locke.“Virginia deserves a governor who has the future of Virginia’s children as his first priority, not the campaign dollars of the DeVos family. This November, voters have the choice to either sell out Virginia’s future to the failed policies of Betsy DeVos, or entrust Virginia’s future to the capable hands of someone who has been an educator himself: Ralph Northam.”
Ed Gillespie’s education plan is little more than an attempt to import the flawed Betsy DeVos-Donald Trump education agenda of vouchers into Virginia. Gillespie has proposed cutting funding for schools most in need while leaving thousands of Virginia students behind. Gillespie’s proposal would funnel much-needed taxpayer dollars away from public schools and into the hands of unaccountable private organizations.
Ed Gillespie has been a vocal cheerleader of Betsy Devos’ disastrous run at the Education Department. In February, he said optimistically that DeVos “will shake things up in education.” By backing DeVos, Gillespie is supporting the Trump administration’s disastrous policies for our kids — including a $2.3 billion cut to programs for teacher training and class-size reduction, and a $1.2 billion cut to after-school programs.