Barbara Ferman is a professor at the College of Liberal Arts, Temple University. She's also the Director of the University Community Collaborative. She passed along this letter to share. If you want to make sure Senator Toomey sees it, feel free to help direct it to him.
February 13, 2017
An Open Letter to Senator Toomey, Pennsylvania
Dear Senator Toomey:
grew up in a working class family and neighborhood in Brooklyn, New
York. I was the first in my family to get a college degree, made
possible by the then free City University of New York system, an
institution that enabled many working and lower middle class kids to
achieve the American Dream. I have been an educator for 32 years, 25 of
those at a public institution in Philadelphia (Temple University).
During that time, I have enabled other kids, like the one I was, to
reach, dream, and land higher than the place from where they came. But,
now, that dream is in jeopardy.
I am extremely fearful of what
the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, will do to public education
(K-16) in this country. In the confirmation hearings, she demonstrated
her total lack of knowledge about public education and the federal laws
that govern it (e.g IDEA), and, even worse, a lack of desire to learn
about public education. The unregulated system of charter schools that
she financially supported in Michigan has been an unmitigated disaster.
The danger she poses to public education has been articulated by some
very conservative stakeholders. Eli Broad, a major investor in charter
schools, called her “unqualified” and “unprepared,” and cited her
support for unregulated charters and vouchers as particularly
problematic in his letter to Senators McConnell and Schumer. The
Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, an organization
representing seventy charter schools in that state, sent a letter to
Senator Elizabeth Warren expressing concern that “efforts to grow school
choice without a rigorous accountability system will reduce the quality
of charter schools across the country.” Two of your Republican
colleagues, Senators Murkowski and Collins, voted against her in the
full Senate. I am totally perplexed as to the reasons why you voted to
Can you please tell me how you think Ms. DeVos will
improve public education in this county given her rather poor record in
Michigan and her total lack of understanding of our most cherished
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this letter. I am genuinely interested in your response.