DeVos pledges not to undo public education, pushes choice

Ronald Pratt
January 20, 2017

Ron Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomIt's telling that a lot of criticism of Betsy DeVos as Donald Trump's choice to head the Department of Education are about things like the fact that she didn't send her children to public schools and that she's not terribly familiar with the vast federal legal bureaucracy overseeing public education.

The west MI native made the case for school choice and great public schools during her Senate testimony Tuesday, which lasted three and a half hours.

Keller said DeVos' history with charter schools has them preparing for the worst.

"She didn't demonstrate as much knowledge on key issues as we would have expected, but you can write that off to nerves". She is a lobbyist for public funding of private schools, privately managed charter schools, virtual schools, home schooling, in short, any alternative to the nation's historic public schools. DeVos said she would support Trump in those efforts.

And she stuck to her talking points even past the silly point in a back-and-forth with Sen.

Kaine said in an interview Thursday that he had concerns going in to the hearing and was not comforted by DeVos's answers on accountability and requiring compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for any school that receives tax money.

When Senator Maggie Hassan asked her to clarify whether "the listing that you were vice president was incorrect", Mrs DeVos replied: "That is correct".

Tashaune Harden, a science teacher and a union leader at a Detroit charter school, was one of the featured speakers. "If confirmed, I look forward to understanding the past actions and the current situation better, and to ensuring that the intent of the law is actually carried out in a way that recognizes both the victim, the rights of the victims as well as those who are accused as well".

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DeVos testified at a confirmation hearing this week that she would not seek to dismantle public schools.

"Everything I have seen tells me that Betsy is ready to take on this assignment and do it very well", Lieberman said in his introduction.

DeVos did express sympathy to those affected by gun violence.

"You can't say definitively today that guns shouldn't be in schools?", asked one senator. I would hope you wouldn't include other family members beyond my core family. But the same special interests that defend failing schools are fighting against charter schools, and they've taken that fight against the nomination of Betsy DeVos for USA education secretary.

"I support Betsy DeVos and the nomination, but it's a qualified support".

"Their game plan is to starve the public schools to name them as failures and to blame the teachers and therefore to move to the privatization of our public schools which I think is a very risky thing", said Collins.

She said today: "At her Senate hearing, MI billionaire Betsy DeVos demonstrated her unfitness for the job of U.S. Secretary of Education".

She called suggestions that policies she's promoted have shielded charter schools from consequences from poor performance "false news", since 122 charter schools across the state have been shut down for poor performance.