Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education set off a seismic reaction among parents, educators, and other concerned citizens across the nation. Never, in recent memory, has a Cabinet selection inspired so much opposition. The phone lines of Senators were jammed. People who never gave much thought to what happens in Washington suddenly got angry. Snippets of her Senate confirmation hearings appeared again and again on newscasts. It was widely known that she was a billionaire who has spent most of her adult life fighting public education and advocating for privatization via charter schools and vouchers for religious schools.

She is Secretary and has pledged that her hope is to open more charters, funnel more money to cybercharters, encourage more homeschooling, and encourage state programs for vouchers, much like the Florida tax-credit program that has funneled $1 billion to organizations that pay for students to attend mostly religious schools.

There have been many state referenda on vouchers. The public has rejected every one of them, including the one funded by Betsy DeVos in Michigan in 2000 and by Jeb Bush in Florida in 2012.

Citizens must work together to block every federal or state effort to defund public schools.

There are two ways to stop DeVos.

One, join local and state organizations that are fighting privatization. Contact and join the Network for Public Education to get the names of organizations in your state.

Two, opt out of federally mandated tests. That sends a loud and clear message that you will not allow your child to participate in federal efforts to micromanage your school. Whatever you want to know about your state’s test scores can be learned by reviewing its scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. For example, we know that Michigan students have declined significantly on tests of reading and math–especially in fourth grade–since the DeVos family decided to control education policy in their home state.

The state tests are a sham. Students learn nothing from them, since they are not allowed to discuss the questions or answers. They never learn which questions they got wrong. Teachers learn nothing from them. The scores come back too late to inform instruction, and the contents are shrouded in secrecy. The tests are a waste of valuable instructional time and scarce resources. They teach conformity. They do not recognize or reward creativity or wit. They reward testing corporations.

Say no to DeVos by opting out. Send a message to Congress that its mandate for annual testing is wrong. Revolt against it. Teach your children the value of civil disobedience and critical thinking. Defend authentic education. Resist! Opt out.