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East Hartford Holds Education Rally After DeVos Disparages School

Carolyn Kaster
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and other elected officials joined East Hartford students, parents and teachers on Tuesday to rally in support of their public high school. The rally follows unflattering remarks about the school by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Testifying in support of President Donald Trump’s proposed education budget before a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee, DeVos talked about meeting a young man named Michael who called East Hartford High School “nothing more than adult day care…a dangerous day care.”

She used the story as an anecdote to support increased federal spending for school choice programs. Governor Malloy joined East Hartford residents in taking issue with the story. He says East Hartford’s graduation rate is seven points above the national average.

“We should be celebrating what’s going on here in East Hartford. We should be celebrating what’s going on in Connecticut. We all wanted to be here to stand with a school that really is doing great, great work and that we should be very proud of.”

Congressman John Larson, D-CT1, graduated from East Hartford High 50 years ago. He says he’s invited DeVos to visit the school.

“We want to make this a teachable moment for her. So she’ll get to see public education firsthand. And while she’s here, she can walk only 50 yards away to the number one public school in the state, the baccalaureate school that’s right next door.”

Larson criticized the Trump administration for proposing $9.2 billion in cuts to federal public education spending while asking for $1.4 billion in new spending to expand school choice programs.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.