For me to oppose a president’s nomination because he/ she may be conservative is not sufficient. But the republican President Donald Trump’s nominees should at least be knowledgeable and competent for the job they are seeking. The nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the Secretary of the US Department of Education deserves to be opposed. It became painfully obvious during her US congressional confirmation hearing, that while Mrs. DeVos appears to sincerely care about the well-being of children, she is extremely deficient in knowledge about this subject.
“The school choice advocate promoted the expansion of charter schools with little state oversight in her home state of Michigan, and charter schools there have performed worse than traditional public schools when student poverty levels are taken into account, according to a Detroit Free Press investigation.”
She is such a poor choice, that there are major institutional supporters of “school choice” that are voicing their opposition against her.
As per the 1/21/17 Washington Post report by Valerie Strauss, “But one of the telling things about the growing opposition to her nomination is that some choice advocates who are on the same school choice page as she is still don’t want her confirmed. Shavar Jeffries, the president of Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-school choice organization that has made political allies out of Republican choice proponents, issued a statement several days after the hearing saying in part:
“Outside of her commitment to parental choice, the hearing provided little insight on Mrs. DeVos’ vision for educating the 50 million American children who currently attend public schools. We are strong supporters of choice married with accountability, but as vital as parental choice is, choice alone is not an answer for ensuring the education of 50 million kids.
“In sum, the hearing did little to clarify concerns that progressive reformers have about Mrs. DeVos’ policy commitment to strong accountability and a strong federal role spanning the scope of the Education Department’s work, from finance equity and teacher preparation to higher education and civil rights. We do hope that at some point Mrs. Devos will speak more expansively about her vision for all public schools and the federal role in ensuring our schools work for our kids. But based on the record before us, we cannot support her nomination.”
“The Massachusetts Charter Public School Association sent a letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — who sits on the Senate education committee — expressing reservations about her nomination.”
As per the 2/1/17 Washington Post article by Emma Brown, “Eli Broad, a billionaire philanthropist from California and major backer of charter schools, is urging senators to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary, saying that she is unqualified for the job. At the risk of stating the obvious, we must have a Secretary of Education who believes in public education and the need to keep public schools public,” Broad wrote in a letter Wednesday to Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). With Betsy DeVos at the helm of the U.S. Department of Education, much of the good work that has been accomplished to improve public education for all of America’s children could be undone.”
For anyone who cares about the education of US children, please call your legislators and put them on notice. Right now, two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have gone on the record to state that they won’t vote for her. And because Republicans control 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats, the Vice President Mike Pence can break the tie but one more republican defection could end this nomination.
We need to contact Senators like Dean Heller of Nevada (a state that went for Hillary Clinton) at 202-224–6244. He has gone on record in support of her, but he is up for re-election in 2018, and so he needs to hear NOW, from his constituents. Other recommendations to call are Senator Jerry Moran of (R-KS) at 202-224- 6521 and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) at 202-224- 4521. Another good choice to try persuasion would be Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) at 202-224- 4254, as this is a state which typically votes democrat. Other targets are Shelly Moore (R-WV) at(202) 224-6472, and Deb Fisher (R-NE) at (202) 224-6551 or her Nebraska phone number (402) 441-4600.
During the Women’s March, Michael Moore asked the crowd to call this number to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education by calling the number (202) 225-3121. To date the phone calls into the congressional phone systems are so heavy that some republican senators are asking not to be contacted by phone but by email.