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Education expert reacts to viral video featuring Betsy DeVos

Education expert reacts to viral video featuring Betsy DeVos (ABC7)

Protesters used their bodies to keep out Education Secretary Betsy Devos as she tried to visit Jefferson Middle School Academy on Jefferson Middle School Academy on Friday.

It was all captured in ABC7’s exclusive video.

“I can tell you that it makes me sad. My kids went to D.C. Public Schools. I would love for the Secretary of Education to be welcomed,” said Michael Feuer, who is the Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Professor of Education Policy at The George Washington University.

DeVos eventually made it inside the building, through another door, where she met with Chancellor Antwan Wilson and others.

“It’s a first step in terms of our work. In terms of the work that we do…and I’m optimistic,” said Wilson.

“I’d like to wish her well in this,” said Feuer. “How she manages now…to try to bring some unity on some of these issues, that’s going to be a test of her skill…as a leader.”

Devos released the following statement on Friday:

“I thank D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson, Jefferson Middle School Academy Principal Greg Dohmann, Superintendent Natalie Gordon and a tremendous team of administrators, teachers and students for welcoming me to Jefferson Middle School Academy today. Jefferson Academy is a public middle school on the rise and a great example of the successful collaborative innovations occurring within the D.C. Public Schools system.

“Focusing on their students and families is at the heart of Jefferson Academy’s approach, and that’s exactly what I believe is at the heart of providing an exceptional education. Great teachers and leaders help make great schools, and I was honored to speak with Jefferson’s team about our shared commitment to strengthening public education.

“I respect peaceful protest, and I will not be deterred in executing the vital mission of the Department of Education. No school door in America will be blocked from those seeking to help our nation’s school children.”

Devos also met with Howard University’s President on Thursday. He also faced some backlash as a result of the meeting.

“Howard University is pleased that Betsy Devos, the new Secretary of Education, chose to visit our institution as her first official campus visit. We have a longstanding, successful relationship with the Department of Education and I look forward to advancing this relationship under the Secretary’s leadership. Our conversation today was a very meaningful one and I welcome the opportunity to continue discussing the many ways we can work together to forward the work of higher education, specifically that of Howard University, Howard University Middle School of Mathematics & Science, and HBCUs in general,” said President Wayne Frederick.

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