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Central Florida teachers protest secretary of education nominee Betsy DeVos

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(CNN Video)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Local teachers are protesting President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education ahead of Inauguration day.

Central Florida teachers said they are concerned about the agenda that could be set in place by the Trump administration with education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos leading the Department of Education.

Students staged a walkout Thursday at Lovell Elementary School as part of a protest. Students and teachers told News 6 that they want more emphasis placed on public schools, not less.

DeVos, whose family owns the Orlando Magic, has been a vocal advocate of charter and private schools. She said she wants tax dollars diverted from public schools to schools of choice.

"Our children deserve an education. Our children deserve to be treated like people," local education union leader Ron Pollard said.

Union leaders and students with colorful signs praising local public schools marched with teachers against DeVos, who they said would take away funding from public schools.

“We’re protecting our kids, we’re protecting our schools and want to resist any effort to demoralize them,” Pollard said.

DeVos’ confirmation hearing on Tuesday caused a stir in education circles, with some officials saying that she isn’t qualified for the position and has very little experience with the public education system.

"Have you ever taken out a student loan from the federal government to help pay for college?” Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked DeVos during the hearing.

DeVos said she and her children have not ever received help from the federal government to pay for education.

"It's time to shift the debate from what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve," DeVos said.

Education union leaders said they disagree with such a shift.

"It worries me because our ethnic kids are the ones who will get hurt in this process, our poor kids, our families," Pollard said.

DeVos is likely to be confirmed as the education secretary.

News 6 contacted the Orange County School District for a response on the protest, but has not heard back.

Watch the full confirmation hearing from C-SPAN below.


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