Betsy DeVos to visit McMinnville High School

Education Secretary DeVos will tour the high school Wednesday

Betsy DeVos
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2017 file photo, Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The Senate was poised on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, to confirm Devos by the narrowest possible margin, with Vice President Mike Pence expected to break a 50-50 tie, despite a last-ditch effort by Democrats to sink the nomination. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will pay a visit to McMinnville High School on Wednesday, October 11, according to the school district’s website. 

Betsy DeVos
In this Sept. 7, 2017 photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks at George Mason University Arlington, Va., campus. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In the note, Superintendent Mary Alice Russell said DeVos requested to visit the school to “learn about the excellent instructional practices making a difference for students” in McMinnville. Russell also said she wants everyone to respect the students and their safety.

Both supporters and opponents of DeVos and her policies are expected to be very visible during her visit. The Northwest Trump Alliance for Change, a group that backs school choice and vouchers, will be there. Some students told KOIN 6 News they will stage a walk-out.

Support Betsy DeVos
Protest Betsy DeVos at McMinnville High School

DeVos will take a tour of the high school with a focus on the Engineering and Aerospace Science Academy. She is not scheduled to speak at the school.

The school’s principal, Tony Vicknair, wrote on the school’s Facebook page that he had “mixed feelings” about her plans to visit:

I recently received a call from DC, and Betsy DeVos would like to come visit our school. I have to be honest. I had mixed feelings about how to move forward. My first response typically is to put our heads down, dig into our work, ignore outside distractions, and continue to do the great things that makes us stand out above the rest.

Then, I thought back to our recent conversations about growth mindset and 21st century skills. We are in the education business. And, this business is about impacting the trajectory of our community and beyond. We have an opportunity to put our money where our mouth is. Whether you agree or disagree with the direction education policy is heading, it doesn’t change the fact that we believe our students should be able to do the following when they walk across the stage: engage in a civil discussion those whom they may not agree; be willing to honor and evaluate multiple perspectives; propose an idea with tact and defend it with evidence and logic; put themselves in challenging and uncomfortable situations to grow as young adults; and find opportunities to champion a cause that’s greater than themselves.

Keeping all that in mind, we believe we will be meeting with Secretary DeVos and her staff this week. Her team has stated that she is here to listen and learn from the great work we are doing. We’re so proud that your voices will be heard on a national platform and that we get to show off the amazing work you do every day to make McMinnville a great place to teach and learn.