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KC School Makes Tough Choice to Host DeVos

Kansas City Academy Principal Kory Gallagher says Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' visit is an opportunity for the small school to showcase its academic philosophy, which is built on inclusion. (Kansas City Academy)
Kansas City Academy Principal Kory Gallagher says Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' visit is an opportunity for the small school to showcase its academic philosophy, which is built on inclusion. (Kansas City Academy)
September 15, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It wasn't an easy decision to make, and Kory Gallagher didn't have much time to make it. The principal of Kansas City Academy - a private college preparatory school - received a call from the office of federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at 4 P.M. on a Friday, asking if the Academy would play host to the controversial Trump cabinet member on her so-called Rethink School Tour. A decision was needed within an hour.

DeVos will, in fact, be at Kansas City Academy later this morning and Gallagher says this is why:

"The board presidents and I really turned to our education philosophy for guidance, and our philosophy really encourages us to be inclusive and to celebrate diversity," he explains. "And that doesn't just mean demographic diversity but also diversity of thought and world-view and life experience."

DeVos has long been known for promoting charter schools and school vouchers and recently made headlines for stating she would reconsider current enforcement of Title IX policies that emphasize gender equality.

Gallagher says he met with organizers of a planned protest across the street from the academy who have agreed to make it clear they're not protesting the school itself but, instead, rallying for education principles that differ from those of DeVos.

Gallagher says that in the wake of his decision to host DeVos, some staff members voiced their disapproval.

"Educators tend to be liberal in their orientation, and so there was a lot of concern that consenting to this visit would also be interpreted as consenting to her policies or to the Trump administration policies in general," he adds.

Gallagher has encouraged staff to view the visit as an opportunity to showcase their school and education practices involving creativity and critical thinking that can be applied in any school.

Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service - MO