Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was on a two-day visit to New York City, home of the nation’s largest public school district, but didn’t tour a single public school, raising eyebrows the city’s department of education.
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According to the New York Daily News, DeVos, an outspoken supporter of school choice, school vouchers and charter schools, wrapped up a two-day tour with a visit to two private Jewish schools Wednesday.
Walking through a fourth-grade library literary class at Yeshiva Darchei Torah, DeVos looked over the children’s work and gushed: “Very cool… good job … wow … nice … that’s great … beautiful.” The all-boys school educates 2,200 students, the News reported.
Her Orthodox Jewish school stops also included Yeshiva Darchei Torah, in Far Rockaway, Queens, on Wednesday, and at the Manhattan High School for Girls on the Upper East Side on Tuesday, the News reported.
New York City’s Department of Education, which oversees schools where 1.1 million students are enrolled, issued a terse statement after the snub.
“An investment in public education is an investment in the future of our city and country,” said the department’s press secretary, Toya Holness. “Secretary DeVos is welcome to visit N.Y.C. public schools and see the phenomenal work we’re doing in the nation’s largest school district.”
DeVos spokesman Liz Hall told the News that “as the secretary travels across the country, she has visited a majority of public schools.”
“The purpose of today’s visit was to come to see Orthodox education here in the city.”
The New York Times noted enrollment in Orthodox Jewish schools in New York is steadily rising, with at least 52,000 children enrolled in Hasidic schools in New York City in 2013, and 28,500 students were enrolled in Litvish sect schools.