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Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. (cpr.org)
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DeVos’s double-take on Denver schools gets a second opinion

Blog, Education, Uncategorized Comments Off 221

Say what!?

That — as pointed out by Chalkbeat Colorado’s Nicholas Garcia — was the reaction Thursday of Colorado’s senior U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet to news that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had dissed Denver’s public schools.

As Chalkbeat had reported previously (and we blogged about it), DeVos had applauded Denver’s school system only weeks ago for its efforts to tackle transportation woes that often bedevil families of charter-schoolers. This week, however, she called out Denver as an example of a district that is choice-friendly at first blush but actually lacks sufficient options for families.

The Democratic Bennet evidently wasn’t about to sit still for that kind of put-down by the Republican education chief. Their partisan differences aside, Bennet has a personal stake in Denver Public Schools: He was the school district’s superintendent for three years just before ascending to the Senate.

So, he took to Twitter and pushed back:

Bennet is used to taking it from both sides in his political life. While Republicans ritually rail against him on a host of issues in their perennial bid to unseat him, his own party’s union wing has never been pleased with his embrace of school-choice policies and his support for charter schools.

Bennet, of course, voted with other Democrats and two Republicans against confirming DeVos as education secretary in February. Her confirmation was made possible only by the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence.

Yet, Bennet also fits squarely within his party’s education-reform branch. You might even say that despite his vote against DeVos,  he is the closest thing to an ally she will find in Democratic ranks.

So, he invited her to break bread. Will she RSVP?

Meanwhile, as always, Chalkbeat’s original report is worth a read. Here’s the link again.

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