Protesters gather in response to Devos visit - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Protesters gather in response to Devos visit

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Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News 

Nebraska public school supporters are worried about what Betsy Devos' visit could mean for public schools in the state.

Devos is a supporter of charter schools, which many Nebraskans believe takes away from public schools.

"I believe our federal tax dollars should be spent on our public schools and improving them instead of taking that money from them to support school choice,” Jude Martindale, retired LPS teacher said.

Protestors gathered outside of St. Mary's school and the Lincoln Children's Zoo, both places Devos visited.

Many of them were retired public school teachers who say Nebraska already has great schools, and all resources should go to those over private charter schools.

"I am a product of public schools,” former teacher Tom Burtch said. “I went to school here in Lincoln, I went to the University of Nebraska, I taught for 36 years in LPS and I think public schools are the foundation of our democracy. I don't think we should be messing with it in the way that Betsy Devos is attempting."

Arlene Rea says public schools are the best way to provide a great education to all students.

"I wanna make sure that all kids have the opportunity, all kids, especially those that are in lower economic areas who need that support,” Arlene Rea, also a retire teacher said. “If we take it away and go to a private school, sure they can be accepted, but can they travel to where it is? Here but in Lincoln we make sure that all kids get a good education."

A group in support of charter schools, Educate Nebraska says the children who attend private or charter schools benefit from their chance to choose their school, and want Nebraska to expand its options, a release from them said.

But the resounding sentiment from protesters was that if getting charter schools in Nebraska means less money for public schools, they don’t want them. 

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