Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is expected to visit Granite Technical Institute and speak at an education conference in a pair of stops in Salt Lake City Tuesday.
The education secretary said it's likely because people are afraid of change. "There is a very large status quo defense that will stop at nearly nothing to try to defend a system that is pretty antiquated".
Students and alumni have been supported in their effort by the American Federation of Teachers, Color of Change, Dream Defenders, Florida Education Association, and the Florida NAACP.
Protester Kellie Henderson says she couldn't afford the almost $3,000 conference tickets, but is concerned with DeVos' support of school choice.
DeVos said she loves to visit schools and learn about innovative programs throughout the country. However, Heritage is proposing the use of federal funds to help military-connected kids and Native American children attend private schools.
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"If the state of Utah decided they didn't want to participate in something, they certainly would have that right".
"The university leadership has drastically fumbled and should resign", Nweze said. "You should have the option to find a network that does work". That includes publicly funded, privately managed charter schools and voucher programs, which give families money to pay tuition at private schools. DeVos met with Pathways students who were making violins, wallets and other items out of carbon fiber in the school's composites lab. The system should also respect what she called a parents' "fundamental right to choose" what's best for their children.
At the ASU+GSV Summit, DeVos drew scattered chuckles throughout the audience, seemingly in regard to her lack of teaching and education policy experience, when she noted she did not go to Washington with "a whole lot of preconceived ideas". The billionaire philanthropist from MI is seen as a leader of the school choice movement.
Granite Technical Institute, Salt Lake Community College and local industries are hosting DeVos at the Institute, at 2500 S State St.in Salt Lake City.
DeVos praised the program, a partnership between the Granite School District and Salt Lake Community College and employers such as Boeing, where students earn a postsecondary certificate in aerospace manufacturing. "I don't know where they get this arbitrary number of $1,000 from", she said. "She asked how we like the program".