Even Betsy DeVos thinks her years in office were a waste of time.
A keynote speaker at Moms for Liberty’s Joyful Warrior National Summit last weekend in Tampa, DeVos co-opted police reform activists’ language for a new context: Defund the Department of Education.
“I personally think the Department of Education should not exist,” DeVos said. This prompted members of the audience to erupt with wild applause in complete support.
DeVos praised Moms for Liberty and commended the attendees’ persistence in fighting for their “threatened” parental rights.
“When you are focused on doing what’s right for your children, you can put up with just about anything,” DeVos said. “Nobody wants better for your student than you as a parent. Fight for your kids, grandkids, neighbor’s children. You will not be stopped.”
Presidential Contenders Aren’t the Grassroots
As Ed Post noted in our preview of the event last week, prominent Florida Republicans run Moms for Liberty. They label themselves a grassroots organization but fail Professor Daniel Katz’s “Fake Grassroots Education Reform Group” test.
As a result of this “grassroots” organization’s elite connections, the ”joyful warriors” who attended the Tampa summit heard from the head of Florida Republican politics himself, Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Providing his star power and political clout to the collective fight of the group, 2024 Republican presidential aspirant DeSantis took the time to criticize mask mandates in schools and to urge parents to get involved with school board elections.
“I have a five-, a four- and a two-year-old, so maybe I’m a little bit more sensitive about this,” DeSantis said. “But I think parents in this country should be able to have their kids go to school, watch cartoons—just be kids—without an agenda shoved down their throat.”
Moms in attendance held onto DeSantis’ every word, frequently cheering with signs that said “Mamas for DeSantis.”
Florida’s students may beg to differ on what it means to have a political agenda shoved down their throats in schools.
DeSantis has signed bills banning discussion of LGBTQ+ topics and issues of race in classrooms.
Here’s What a Real Grassroots Organization Looks Like
Organizations like Memphis LIFT, led by executive director Sarah Carpenter, and the Powerful Parent Movement aim to make the powerless parent powerful and attract a group of parents ready and willing to demand the quality education their students deserve.
They center the best interests of the students, unlike Moms for Liberty, who—with major partisan political figures backing them—love to emphasize the alleged threat to parental rights without much more information beyond that questionable surface.
Trinity Alicia is an editorial intern at EdPost based in Boston. Having studied journalism, film and Spanish at San Diego State University, Alicia has versatile experience in print, public relations and multimedia that she brings to the EdPost team. In her free time, she enjoys live music and bicoastal traveling.