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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks at ALEC conference in Denver day after protests

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Posted at 10:57 AM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 18:59:33-04

DENVER – U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a speech to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council in Denver around noon Thursday in Denver—one day after hundreds of educators and others protested her appearance at the state Capitol.

DeVos’ speech started just before 12:50 p.m. You can watch a replay of her remarks by clicking here.

DeVos was heavily scrutinized before she was appointed and confirmed as Education Secretary because of her longtime ties to controversial school choice and voucher programs.

DeVos criticized Denver Public Schools in March during a speech at the Brookings Institute in Washington, which ranked the DPS school choice system as tops in the nation for the second straight year this year.

But DeVos implied at the time that DPS was pushing a false agenda when it comes to school choice. She said Denver does not provide parents a voucher program, which the state Supreme Court has twice ruled was unconstitutional.

“Choice without accessibility doesn’t matter, just as accessibility without choices doesn’t matter. Neither scenario ultimately benefits students,” she said.

She also faced criticism from the DPS superintendent, and several of Colorado’s Democratic members of Congress for those comments.

Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner split their votes to confirm DeVos in early February after weeks of protests against her confirmation. Vice President Mike Pence had to break a tie in the Senate to confirm her as the new education secretary.

Tap the image below for a gallery of images from Wednesday’s protest at the state Capitol, or click here.