TORONTO — Ontario's premier said she'd welcome U.S. President Donald Trump's education secretary to visit the province's public schools if she chooses to reschedule a cancelled trip, even though she disagrees with some of Betsy DeVos' positions.
Kathleen Wynne said Friday that she was looking forward to an opportunity to show DeVos a strong, publicly funded education system.
DeVos cancelled a planned visit for Thursday and Friday this week just one day in advance, citing "scheduling issues," though the U.S. Department of Education noted the trip had merely been postponed.
The visit had caused some controversy in Ontario, where teachers' unions expressed concerns over DeVos' advocacy for school choice, including vouchers that allow kids to attend publicly funded but privately operated charter schools, or private schools on the public dime.
The NDP called on the government to not allow DeVos to tour schools in the province — a position Wynne said she doesn't understand.
"I don't agree with the positions that Secretary DeVos has taken in the past, that's true, but I think that's all the more reason to have an opportunity to showcase what we do in our schools and how strong a publicly funded education system can be," Wynne said Friday.
"So I honestly don't understand why we would want to hide that under a bushel. I would think we'd want to celebrate the success of our publicly funded education system."
DeVos has also attracted protests recently for revoking a guidance that instructed colleges on how to handle sexual assault cases, saying the previous policy was unfairly skewed against those accused of assault, and for the department of education rolling back rules allowing transgender students to use school restrooms of their choice.
Wynne has advocated for protections for LGBT Ontarians and her government launched a large campaign aimed at ending sexual harassment and violence.
Despite differences of opinion, Wynne said she would want to display Ontario's education system.
"I was looking forward to the opportunity for the secretary to see that," she said. "If she chooses to come back that would be great."
Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
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