DeVos must not be welcomed in Windsor classrooms now or in the future: MPP Gretzky

QUEEN’S PARK—Amid mounting pressure, a plan to have U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visit Ontario schools was cancelled today but local Windsor West NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky cautions that welcoming her to visit at a more convenient time is not sending the appropriate message to Windsor students and families. 

Gretzky spoke out in the legislature against the DeVos invitation moments before the cancellation was announced.

“The Wynne government hasn’t told us why this trip was abruptly cancelled,” said Gretzky. “But it’s concerning that the welcome mat is still out for DeVos to visit Ontario schools as she pleases. “Windsor families need to know where their government stands on issues like trans exclusion and gender-based violence. They need to know that public education in Ontario is not for sale—voucher schemes that funnel public education dollars into private schools have no place here.”

DeVos serves as Education Secretary under U.S. President Donald Trump and is unapologetic in her advocacy for “school choice” voucher programs that siphon public money away from students in public schools and give it to private schools instead. Since her appointment as education secretary, DeVos has repealed Obama-era guidelines allowing gender-neutral washrooms in schools and gutted policies on handling sexual assault cases at colleges.

“As a parent of a child in one of our high schools, I am appalled by this government’s decision,” said Gretzky. “Why would we expose students to someone who doesn’t support the very things we try to instil in our children, like acceptance and equality--this Liberal government must listen to the teachers and education workers of this province.”