Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Tuesday said that teachers unions have a "stranglehold" on too many politicians while criticizing the lack of progress on school choice for American students.
DeVos, a longtime champion of school choice in the form of charter schools and private school vouchers, told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that students need "many more kinds of educational experiences" and criticized the "forces protecting the status quo," the Hill reported.
"We need to combat those, break them, and, again, empower and allow parents to make decisions on behalf of their individual children, because they know their children best," she said.
"Is it the teachers union? What outside forces are stopping us from making the changes required?" Bartiromo asked.
"The teachers union has a stranglehold on many of the politicians in this country, both at the federal level and at the state level, and they are very resistant to the kind of changes that need to happen," DeVos said. "They are very protective of what they know, and they're protective, really protective of adult jobs and not really focused on what's right for individual students."
DeVos has been a target of teachers unions from the beginning of her tenure, and she has been one of the most sharply criticized members of the Trump administration.
Teachers unions dislike charter schools for not hiring unionized teachers and accuse them of siphoning money away from public schools that they say deserve the funding. Unions and some teachers have also clashed with DeVos for being sharply critical of underperforming public schools.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten has called DeVos the worst secretary of education in the country's history.