It’s been six months since the violent police attacks on protesters at Trump’s inauguration, and opposition to the Trump agenda is still turning people out in the streets. On the 22nd of January, a large march took over Independence Ave to oppose the corporate takeover of education advocated by Trump and his transphobic Secretary of Education Betsy Devos. Devos is a radical privatization advocate whose sole qualification for office is giving millions to Trump’s campaign fund.
Betsy Devos is not only viciously anti-trans, she has also been called out by Senator Al Franken for going so far as to support “conversion therapy” aimed at trying to force Gay kids to change their sexual preferences. “Conversion therapy” has been scientifically discredited even in the case of Gay male Fundamentalist Christian adults, the publicly claimed market for this psychiatric snake oil. Betsy Devos has publicly denied supporting conversion therapy but gave $100 million to Focus on the Family, one of the most aggressive proponents of it.
The corporate takeover of schools peddled by Betsy Devos would be a disaster for special needs students such as those with Aspergers. The model held forth by some of the privatization advocates is KIPP, which is almost the worst possible environment for many students. The charter school movement is also embedded with those who support the use of taxpayer-funded vouchers to pay for private schools and in particular those run by fundamentalist Christian groups. This kind of agenda can be catastrophic, even deadly for GLBTQ students, but Secretary of Education Betsy Devos does not care. She has been the subject of pointed protests by transgender students and their supporters. Now she is under fire from the organizers of the Jan 21 Women’s March, from teachers, and from student groups in general.
The March for Public Education was reported to have considerable organizational overlap with the Jan 21 Women’s March. While those organizers have made little mention of the 200+ people facing felony charges for protesting Trump on Jan 20, the simple fact that they are still in the street themselves is a repudiation of the Trump/Session/Kirkhoff strategy to deter all protest by severely punishing some protesters. Whether they like it or not, they are in the same boat or soon will be if Trump, Sessions, and Kirkhoff get away with what they are trying to do to DisruptJ20 protesters. For instance, a charter school corporation could beg the Department of Injustice or state prosecutors to investigate leaders of a sucessful movement against a school takeover for “economic terrorism” due to lost profits. Already state laws of this type are being proposed to protect pipeline companies in multiple states.