News & Politics

NJ Union Honcho Hopes Education Sec. Betsy DeVos 'Dies a Horrible, Horrible Death'

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A union honcho in New Jersey is under fire after tweeting on Wednesday that she hopes Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos “dies a horrible, horrible death.”

Communications Workers of America (CWA) State Director Hetty Rosenstein shared her hateful thoughts on Twitter in response to DeVos’s proposed cuts to federal special education funding.

“I hope she dies a horrible horrible death,” Rosenstein wrote, linking a story about the $17.6 million in proposed cuts to the Special Olympics.

Now her Twitter account is private.

DeVos came before the education subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday to discuss her plan to cut $8.5 billion — about 12 percent — from the Department of Education.

“I believe this budget is cruel, and I believe it is reckless,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) who leads the subcommittee.

“I still can’t understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget. It’s appalling,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said.

DeVos responded to the criticism in a statement post at the Dept. of Education website: “It is unacceptable, shameful and counterproductive that the media and some members of Congress have spun up falsehoods and fully misrepresented the facts.”

“Make no mistake: we are focused every day on raising expectations and improving outcomes for infants and toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and are committed to confronting and addressing anything that stands in the way of their success,” she said. “The President’s budget reflects that commitment. It supports our nation’s 7 million students with disabilities through a $13.2 billion request for IDEA funding, the same funding level appropriated by Congress. All of that money goes directly to states to ensure students with disabilities have the resources and supports they need. The budget also requests an additional $225.6 million for competitively awarded grants to support teacher preparation, research and technical assistance to support students with disabilities.”

“The Special Olympics is not a federal program,” she added. “It’s a private organization. I love its work, and I have personally supported its mission. Because of its important work, it is able to raise more than $100 million every year. There are dozens of worthy nonprofits that support students and adults with disabilities that don’t get a dime of federal grant money. But given our current budget realities, the federal government cannot fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations.”

She continued to defend the proposed cuts on Twitter:

At press time, neither CWA New Jersey nor the national CWA union had put out a statement condemning Rosenstein’s tweet.

PJ Media emailed CWANJ requesting comment on Rosenstein’s tweet and have not yet received a reply. We also called their Trenton office but no one picked up the phone.

UPDATE:

In a statement Thursday, Rosenstein said she regretted her statement which was made out of “despair.”

“I don’t know the last time I heard such horrible news or felt such despair. I had just posted that I couldn’t sleep. And so I said something out of that despair that I regret. I should not have said it,” she said.

“I am a leader and I should have mustered something to help to inspire others to continue to fight for justice and to fight the power and privilege and immorality of the politics of DeVos. Instead I carelessly gave in to my own pain.”