Congresswoman DeLauro responds to DeVos' comments - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Congresswoman DeLauro responds to DeVos' comments

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East Hartford High School was mentioned in remarks by the education secretary. (WFSB) East Hartford High School was mentioned in remarks by the education secretary. (WFSB)
EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut is in the national spotlight again as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had strong criticism for East Hartford Public Schools and described the high school as a dangerous daycare.

Now, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is speaking out against the president's budget and what could be huge cuts for Connecticut schools.

"I know this school. I know the teachers,” East Hartford student Tasmin Islam said. “They are the hardest working individuals I know."

Students are the ones who have the most to say and for these students, East Hartford High School has been a very positive experience. DeVos created some controversy this week when she bashed their school.  

DeVos told a story about an East Hartford High School graduate.

"Michael got a diploma got a diploma, but not an education. Michael's story is important because there are literally millions of students in this country just like him. The system simply passes them along,” DeVos said.

DeVos said she went as far as saying the school is nothing more than a dangerous adult daycare.

"When I saw it my heart sank,” East Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Nathan Quesnel said. “That's not how I want our work in East Hartford to be portrayed."

Quesnel said he is disappointed with DeVos’ remarks. He also has concerns about President Donald Trump's education budget shifting public school funding away to charter and magnet schools as well as a voucher program.

“We in America believe in public schools,” Quesnel said.

"Vouchers in my view will destabilize not only our schools but our communities,” DeLauro said. I will fight at every step against any attempt to take public money away from public schools."

However, DeLauro was not alone in the Connecticut Delegation. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) was one of 14 members of Congress to send a letter to DeVos "to raise concerns about the Department of Education’s review of state plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act." 

“The ESSA gives states and school districts a great deal of flexibility and discretion to design statewide accountability systems that work for their communities; however, the intent of Congress, as evidenced by the law’s statutory requirements, was to allow state plans to be designed within federally set parameters that ensure equity for underserved students and some measure of quality across states. The Department’s peer review process provides an important opportunity for improving the quality of state plans and helping states realize more equitable outcomes for students. Although we recognize that no two state plans will be identical, we are concerned that the wide variances and discrepancies in how states’ have proposed to address core statutory requirements could indicate a lack of quality control," the letter stated. 

Everyone is curious now as to who Michael is. Quesnel said students do have challenges but there certainly success stories at East Hartford High School.

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