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The National Education Association (NEA) appears to be playing clean-up after a tweet Saturday drew harsh criticism for claiming that educators “know better than anyone” what students need. 

The NEA, one of the largest teachers unions in the United States, later turned off replies to the tweet, but not before 5,000 people responded, including former education secretary Betsy DeVos, who simply stated “You misspelled parents.” 

The National Education Association took issue with DeVos’ tweet, and noted the role of parents in shaping their children’s education.

“Together, families and educators are an essential team for advocating for the resources and opportunities all students need. Out-of-touch billionaires, however, are not,” the teachers union responded to DeVos’ tweet. 

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DeVos fired back at the NEA in a comment to Fox News Digital, calling the union out for “attacking parents.”

Other Twitter users came to DeVos’ defense, echoing her criticism of the NEA.

“[DeVos] is correct,” Cory DeAngelis, a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children, tweeted. 

“Out of touch teachers unions are claiming they know what our kids need better than us, the parents. The billionaire is right,” tweeted the LA Parents Union, a Los Angeles-based parents advocacy group.

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A tweet from the National Education Association claimed educators "know better than anyone" what students need.

A tweet from the National Education Association claimed educators “know better than anyone” what students need.
(Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The NEA’s initial tweet, which drew backlash from thousands on Twitter, claimed “Educators love their students and know better than anyone what they need to learn and to thrive.”

“Parents know best,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., tweeted. 

“This is absurd. Better than parents?” Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters responded.

“Parents. Parents love their own children and know better than anyone what their own children need,” conservative author Bethany Mandel tweeted. 

Relations between teachers unions and parents have soured in recent years, particularly in response to academic slowdowns across the U.S. in the wake of COVID-19-related school closures.

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A recent national report card showed the impact that forced at-home learning may have had on schoolchildren, finding the largest decrease in reading scores in three decades. Math scores, meanwhile, saw their first decrease in the history of the testing regimen done by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Parents and community members attend a Loudoun County School Board meeting on June 22, 2021. 

Parents and community members attend a Loudoun County School Board meeting on June 22, 2021. 
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

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The NEA, along with the American Federation of Teachers, was caught up in controversial emails last year with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The correspondence, obtained by Americans for Public Trust, found that the nation’s two largest teachers unions appeared to influence last-minute changes to school reopening guidance and a slow walking of getting kids back to school.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report. 


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