Protests against Betsy DeVos be­fore ALEC con­fer­ence in Den­ver

The Denver Post - - OPINION - Re: Ju­dith Kohler, Marvin E. Em­rich,

“Hun­dreds march and protest Betsy Devos,” July 20 news story.

“Laugh­able.” That’s how Colorado At­tor­ney Gen­eral Cynthia Coff­man de­scribes peo­ple’s ob­jec­tions to the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Ex­change Coun­cil’s sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence on state law­mak­ers na­tion­wide. Some of those peo­ple protested out­side the ALEC con­fer­ence last week in Den­ver. While down­play­ing ALEC’s well-fi­nanced at­tempts to sway votes at state­houses, Coff­man noted ALEC does “help with re­search, with ex­perts,” ideas and leg­isla­tive lan­guage meant to with­stand law­suits. Maybe peo­ple’s con­cerns aren’t so laugh­able af­ter all.

How many or­di­nary Coloradans get to sit down and share their ideas with leg­is­la­tors? They likely don’t have lawyers to write boil­er­plate leg­is­la­tion for their rep­re­sen­ta­tives to spon­sor.

Maybe Coloradans want to be­lieve their elected of­fi­cials are ac­tu­ally lis­ten­ing to them in­stead of a na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion with a nar­row po­lit­i­cal agenda, one that un­der­mines such all-Amer­i­can tra­di­tions as pub­lic schools and pub­lic lands. Maybe it is laugh­able af­ter all.

What’s all the fuss about? There seems to be an or­ga­nized cam­paign against Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Betsy DeVos, who wants to raise the shame­fully low stand­ing of United States ed­u­ca­tion when com­pared to other na­tions around the world.

DeVos came to Den­ver to at­tend a meet­ing of con­ser­va­tives. She is a strong ad­vo­cate of char­ter schools, which seem to be do­ing well in Colorado. If Sec­re­tary DeVos can raise the stand­ing of Amer­i­can schools, then she should be ap­plauded, not de­mo­nized.

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