Senate Dems Hold All-Night Floor Session in Effort to Stop DeVos

Joy Montgomery
February 11, 2017

Public schools face an uncertain future after Betsy DeVos' contentious confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Education.

DeVos, a GOP donor and MI billionaire who helped build the state's charter school system, was confirmed as secretary of education Tuesday by the Senate, but only after a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence and a strong public outcry asking senators to not confirm her that jammed the congressional switchboard.

President Donald Trump's selection for education secretary, billionaire mega-donor Betsy DeVos, appears to be his most embattled Cabinet pick, but Senate Republicans have largely held tight in their support.

To numerous teachers' groups and other critics who protested, called and emailed their senators, the confirmation of the pro-charter school, pro-voucher MI billionaire was a blow to public education.

Practically and philosophically, DeVos wants to privatize public education. A few protesters stood outside the department at noon to oppose her agenda as education secretary. "While we are disappointed by this confirmation, Wylie ISD is, and will continue to be, a high achieving school district", the statement read. The New York Times noted that "since the 2008 recession, states have reduced spending on higher education by 17 percent per student, while tuition has risen by 33 percent, according to a recent report by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities".

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Robart added that the order also harmed the state's public universities and tax base: "These harms are significant and ongoing". Another time, pressed for an answer on whether a president's decision is unreviewable, Flentje answered "yes".

Meanwhile, an appeals court is set to hear arguments on President Trump's controversial travel ban. She was sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence just hours after her confirmation on Tuesday.

The NC GOP praised DeVos in a press release for her commitment to school choice, and invited her to North Carolina to share ideas.

Betsy DeVos' past work in education and her performance at the recent confirmation hearing demonstrated neither a depth of experience nor knowledge base in education policy and on critical issues facing the community.

In this scenario, the public school system would lose the funding but would not be able to reduce staff because the students would come from a variety of grades, Stanley said.

In addition to modeling inclusion and a love of life-long learning, the department also has a unique role in protecting students. The state has not passed laws that would allow public education dollars to go to private or parochial schools. Rather, the performance of our students continues to lag, with US students underperforming in math, science and reading when compared to students in 65 other countries and economies. And they almost succeeded in derailing her confirmation; their effort failed only because the Senate's 50-50 tie was broken by Vice President Mike Pence. And while she's taking notes from the thousands of underpaid, under-appreciated public school teachers in this country, well, she can do what those teachers and millions of families are forced to do these days: she can buy her own damn pencils. Murkowski, who broke ranks with her fellow GOPers, took $43,200 from DeVos, acording to CAP, but perhaps she is the exception that proves the rule.

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