UPDATE ON 2/7/17: The Vice President Mike Pence has just cast the tie breaking US Senate vote in favor of the next US Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos.
Dear Readers, Thank you for all your efforts in this cause to stop this from happening.
Dear Readers, Please continue to try to reach your republican senators by phone, emails, letters especially if they are on the below list for having accepted campaign donations from Mrs. DeVoss. The vote is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, February 6, 2017. YOU CAN FIND PHONE NUMBERS FOR EVERY SENATORS HERE.The republican US senators’ quick talking point retort to anyone opposing Betsy Devos from becoming the next education secretary, is that it is the Teachers’ Unions are pushing the fight against her.
Dear Republican Senators, Most of us who are opposed to her bid for this important job, are voicing our objections because she is unqualified. The future of our children’s well being is of such significance, that this time, your vote will not be forgotten. And this is why your phones are rigging off the hook.
There are some of us wondering if she will succeed despite her lack of qualifications for this post, because she has donated so much monies to the republican senators’ campaign coffers as the chart below demonstrates.
I did watch the congressional confirmation hearings which was embarrassing in demonstrating just how unqualified she is. I have also done my homework.
Frankly, anyone who would pay thousands of dollars towards blocking any oversight legislation over charter schools in MI, by definition, should be disqualified. As per Chalkbeat (from the blog, markmaynard.com ), “When Michigan lawmakers this year were considering a measure that would have added oversight for charter schools in Detroit, members of the DeVos family poured $1.45 million into legislators’ campaign coffers — an average of $25,000 a day for seven weeks. Oversight was not included in the final legislation.”
“As per Detroit Free Press investigation, “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.”
At least three major pro-school choice advocates are opposing 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.” Mr. Jeffries is opposing Betsy Devos for the education secretary position. Here is part of his statement: “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.”
“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.”
In an 11/27/16 Washington Post article, Valerie Strauss wrote, “I’ve been joking that neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s— President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development — primary qualification is that he grew up in a house. But Betsy DeVos, his choice as education secretary, attended private schools and sent her children to them. So as far as personal interaction with public education, she doesn’t even have that going for her.”
It seems that beyond previous mistakes, Mrs. DeVos has been exposed for providing false answers to senators who have asked for answers in writing to their questions.
As per, the 2/4/17 report by Cory Turner, “The latest, remarkable misstep of a Cabinet nominee who has misstepped plenty came in answer to a simple question:
“Why do you think their performance is so poor?” asked Senator Patty Murray, D-Wa., in a written question to Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Education Department.”
“Their” refers to virtual schools, of which DeVos has been an outspoken champion. The “poor” refers to a large body of research — study after study after study — that raises serious questions about the quality and efficacy of schools that attempt to educate full-time students through the computer, without traditional access to teachers or classrooms. In response, DeVos wrote:
“High quality virtual charter schools provide valuable options to families, particularly those who live in rural areas where brick-and-mortar schools might not have the capacity to provide the range of courses or other educational experiences for students. Because of this, we must be careful not to brand an entire category of schools as failing students.”
“The following virtual academies have four-year cohort graduation rates at or above 90 percent,” DeVos wrote, listing some apparent success stories:
“Idaho Virtual Academy (IDV A): 90 percent
Nevada Virtual Academy (NVV A): 100 percent
Ohio Virtual Academy (OHV A): 92 percent
Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy (OVCA): 91 percent
Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA): 96 percent
Utah Virtual Academy (UTV A): 96 percent
Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIV A): 96 percent”
There’s just one problem with these numbers, Pallas points out.
“The Nevada Virtual Academy, for example. Its graduation rate for the class of 2015 wasn’t 100 percent. It was 63 percent, according to Nevada’s own school report card.”
“Ohio Virtual Academy’s 92 percent graduation rate? Try 53 percent.”
“Utah Virtual Academy’s 96 percent rate? Cut it in half.”
“Where did DeVos get these inflated numbers? Questions to the Trump administration went unanswered, but they appear to have been lifted verbatim from this report by K12 Inc., the for-profit company behind the online schools listed. DeVos herself was once an investor. It would not be the first of her answers to senators that appear to have been borrowed without citation.”
This blog was last updated on 2/6/17. The twitter feed has it that U.S. senators plan to debate her appointment, all night long. There is still a need for one more republican vote to stop her from becoming the education secretary.