Students are “DeVo-stated” at the confirmation of education secretary DeVos


Sydney Gibson, Staff Writer

The day after it was announced that Besty DeVos would become education secretary, over 250 students from schools in Pittsburgh began to peacefully protest.

The protest started to form at around 7:30 a.m. in Market Square and about an hour after, the students marched to Sen. Pat Toomey’s office in Station Square. Upon the students reaching Toomey’s office, they presented a list of four demands to a representative.

One of their four demands was that they wanted Sen. Toomey to explain how he believes DeVos will improve education in Pennsylvania.

Most of the students were from public schools in the area and several were holding signs that stated, “We are DeVo-stated” and “Hurt our schools, hurt our future”. Chants were repeated throughout the crowd as well, one being, “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts.”

During the protest, the students even had a police escort on one lane of Smithfield Street in the midst of morning rush hour.

One of the organizers, Serena Zets, is a junior from Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 explained what she was feeling, “We just feel really let down [by Toomey]”. She continued, “[DeVos’] lack of experience in the education system, the fact that she’s never taken out a federal loan for school, none of her kids have and a lot of us are juniors and seniors and a lot of us will [fill] out FAFSAs and [are] going to college.”

Although, contrary to popular belief, DeVos is actually rooting for public schools. Zets’ and many other students’ voices are not going unheard. DeVos understands that the system in place is flawed and she does not desire to make the situation any worse.

When asked on her website if she was a supporter of the Common Core, DeVos gave a straight forward response, “I am not a supporter…I do support high standards, strong accountability, and local control. When Governors such as John Engler, Mike Huckabee, and Mike Pence were driving the conversation on voluntary high standards driven by local voices, it all made sense… Above all, I believe every child, no matter their zip code or their parents’ jobs, deserves access to a quality education.”

The students protesting were also not unheard by Sen. Toomey. His office released a statement saying, “I welcome the input of these young people and all of my constituents. I support everyone’s right to protest peacefully…”