#DumpDeVos Caller Guide

Step 1: Call Your Senators

Use Call My Congress (opens in a new window) to look up your senators.  Use the links to call them.  (Note: confirmation of presidential appointees is a Senate process, so there’s little your other representatives can do here.)

Script #1:

My name is _____ and I am calling to let the Senator know that I would like him/her to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

I believe in my community’s public schools. Betsy DeVos believes in school privatization and vouchers. She has worked to undermine efforts to regulate Michigan charters, even when they clearly fail. The “marketplace” solution of DeVos will destroy our democratically governed community schools. Her hostility towards public schools disqualifies her. I am asking the Senator to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos.

Script #2:

My name is _____ and I am calling to let the Senator know that I would like him/her to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

DeVos and her family heavily lobbied the Michigan legislature to shield the charter industry from greater oversight. She pushes for-profit charter schools and online schools, which consistently fail the students that they are supposed to serve.

I want my tax dollars to stay in my community to support my public schools. I don’t want my money going to private schools and profit making scams. Betsy DeVos is bad for American education. I am asking that the Senator oppose DeVos.

Step 1b: Send a Video to Your Senators

Use Countable (embedded at right) to send a video message to your Senators as well. Personal story > telephone script.

Step 2: Help #DumpDeVos Gather Steam

Step 2a: Retweet a Badass Teachers Meme

Cruise through the Twitter history of #NotMySOE, pick a meme, and retweet it with the hashtags #DumpDeVos and #NotMySOE as well as #TBATs.  Consider tagging the aforementioned Senators as well.

Step 2b: Remind People that Public Schools are a Success Story

If you haven’t already, create a #PublicSchoolSuccess picture and tweet it out using said hashtag.  (Soon to be added) are lists of people who have either a) allied with Betsy DeVos, or b) have claimed public schools to be a failed experiment.  Tag as many as you reasonably can.

Step 3: Acknowledge That She’ll Probably Still Get Confirmed.

Stick with me, here.

Let’s just face the facts.  There is basically 100% likelihood that Betsy DeVos will become our new Secretary of Education.  Reasons:

  • In the history of the United States, just 9 nominees were rejected by the Senate, and only 13 withdrawn before confirmation.
  • The major way to knock someone out of contention is with flagrant conflicts of interest, and that’s far more likely to be a Rex Tillerson fight.
  • Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn represent far greater threats to the rights of the oppressed, so resources will go to those fights.
  • School-choice ideology aside, this is a partisan nomination and a partisan confirmation.  And have you seen the Senate make-up?  Related:
  • Harry Reid basically made it impossible for the minority party to stop cabinet appointments.  Whoops.
  • Whatever GOP senators might be persuaded by reasoned arguments against DeVos have probably been bought.
But that doesn’t mean it’s over.

In 2018, all of the House is up for re-election.
As are 36 states’ Governors.
As are hundreds of state legislators.
And thousands of school board members.

The privatizers aren’t stopping after the DeVos hearing, and neither should we.

Step 4: Gear Up for the Long Haul

Step 4a: Join the Badass Teachers Association

Both the national organization and the one for your state.  This is where grassroots activism starts.  Read their blogs. Link up on Twitter.

Step 4b: Look Up When Your Senator is in Town

Go back to Call My Congress and go to your Senator’s page.  Find his/her Town Hall schedule (they all go by ridiculous cutesy names so you’ll have to search a bit).  Go there and hold them accountable, not just for the DeVos hearings, but for their commitment to public education.

Step 4c: Read the Diane Ravitch Canon

Or at the very least, The Death and Life of the Great American School System.  And once you’ve read that, memorize every data point from Reign of Error.

Use these talking points often.

Step 6: Have a Lovely Beverage

You’ve earned it.

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