VAN WERT — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will make a visit to the Van Wert City School District on April 20.
“I look forward to visiting the students, parents and educators of Van Wert,” DeVos said in a statement. “Every parent should be able to send their children to a school that meets their unique needs, and for many parents, that is a public school. I support and celebrate all great schools. I appreciate the district and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten extending the invitation.”
Weingarten had already been scheduled to visit the school from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 20 and had extended an invitation to DeVos on behalf of the Van Wert Federation of Teachers. The school district was quite surprised by a member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet agreeing to visit the school.
“It is quite an opportunity for Van Wert schools and Northwest Ohio,” said Van Wert Federation of Teachers President Jeff Hood.
Hood said the invitation was extended on the day of DeVos’ appointment to the position. Hood said the union was aware of DeVos visiting many charter and private schools, and they wanted her to get the same treatment from public schools.
“We wanted to make sure she knew she was welcome to visit the public schools,” Hood said. “We want her to see what is going on in Ohio’s public schools and that there is a lot of good going on.”
Discussion was still going on between the American Federation of Teachers, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Van Wert Federation of Teachers, the Ohio Department of Education, and DeVos’ office on exactly how the education secretary will participate in the visit. Weingarten is scheduled for a full day in several classrooms and buildings at the school.
“At this time, it has not been communicated to us how long her visit will be,” Hood said. “It is possible she could be with Weingarten for the entire visit. It is possible she just may be here for part of it.”
Hood said the district expected to have an itinerary of DeVos’ visit most likely by Wednesday or Thursday.
Several of DeVos’ visits to other schools have been met by protesters, and Hood said he expects for there to be “beefed up” security for her visit.
“We are glad she was able to work it into her schedule,” Hood said.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or on Twitter @LanceMihm.