In covering protesters blocking DeVos, media ignored facts about school

DeVos swearing in

Vice President Mike Pence swears in Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. (Via C-Span/snip)

After US Dept. of Education secretary Betsy DeVos was sworn in, one of the first schools she tried to visit was Jefferson Middle School Academy. DeVos was met by a swarm of protesters.

How many of those protesters were parents of students at the school? 

Media reports didn’t say, but The Chicago Tribune reported that a number of the protesters were members of Washington Teachers Union. Such unions advocate for educators who pay dues to the union.

DeVos finally managed to visit Jefferson Middle after outsmarting the protesters. She used a different entrance.

The Chicago Tribune said that “five years into a turnaround effort” Jefferson Middle is “making rapid progress.”

That statement is another reminder of lack of reality in media. It’s likely the editors of The Tribune wouldn’t send their children to a school like Jefferson Middle School Academy.

The school is not diverse, by a long shot. One ‘racial’ group makes up almost the entire student body. The school’s test scores are below the mark. The school’s entire student body is on the federal free lunch program. I mention that 100 percent federally subsidized lunch because DC is a bastion of wealth.

How is it that in a district harboring the wealthiest people in the US, families outside the political class can’t afford to purchase lunch for their children?

Jefferson is ranked in the middle (by schooldigger) of all the middle schools in the district.

Niche shows a similar ranking.

The rankings are in line with data published by the State Office of the Superintendent of Education information about a number of factors, including student achievement. At this school, less than 10 percent of the students met expectations on math. Other subject areas are nothing to brag about either.

The protesters chanted, “We fight back!”

Exactly what is it they are fighting for? Mediocrity? You’d think, if the students were the real focus, those protesters would be blocking bureaucrats running their district.

Photos of those ‘protesters’ at various websites indicate the protest group was far more diverse than the school.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 13, 2017)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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