Education Secretary Betsy DeVos participates in a roundtable discussion during her visit to Van Wert, Ohio
VAN WERT, Ohio (WPTA21) - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited several public schools in northwest Ohio Thursday, accompanied by the president of a national teachers union who has been among her most vocal critics and has suggested that DeVos doesn't understand what students need to succeed.
DeVos and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten began their tour at an early education facility in Van Wert, a few miles from the Indiana state line.
Weingarten has criticized the school choice advocate and wealthy Republican donor for showing "antipathy for public schools" and favoring private and for-profit schools.
Weingarten invited DeVos to visit public schools to see what strategies are helping students be successful.
The day's schedule included roundtable discussions on rural education and the challenges of meeting the needs of special education students.
DeVos has been an advocate for reform and says students should be able to attend schools that meet their needs, but said public schools do suit many families.
Ohio's top education official was among those attending the tour.
Earlier in the day, a guest editorial by DeVos was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. In that item, DeVos affirmed that she believes every student deserves a great education, and that, for many, it "will continue to be provided by traditional public schools."
DeVos was heavily criticized during her confirmation hearings for what critics believe to be a disregard for public education and for her support of policies that would favor private schools at their expense. It took a tie-breaking vote from the vice president to ensure her confirmation.