Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey made this statement on the Nomination and Appointment of Betsy Devos, Secretary of Education (and why we have to resist the Trump/DeVos agenda):
“Betsy DeVos has spent her career promoting policies that divert students and resources away from public schools. Through her powerful lobbying group, the Great Lakes Education Project, DeVos has advocated for voucher programs that would use taxpayer dollars to pay for private school tuition and supported the expansion and deregulation of charter schools, regardless of the school’s performance.
I also have serious doubts about DeVos’ qualifications to be Secretary of Education. She has never been a public school teacher, worked in a school as an administrator, or even attended public school herself. Yet as Secretary, DeVos would be in charge of the department that oversees more than 50 million public elementary and secondary school students. American students and families need a Secretary of Education who will fight for public education and fully fund the programs and initiatives that help students succeed, not someone who views public education as an industry and prioritizes the profits and privatization of education.
DeVos was also in charge of the All Children Matter Political Action Committee (PAC) in 2008 when it violated federal and state campaign finance laws. The PAC was fined $5.3 million for breaking the law, but instead of paying the penalty, the group halted operations and disbanded. In December 2016, I joined Senators Udall, Brown, Merkley, and Sanders in two letters calling for DeVos to ensure that the PAC for which she was responsible pays the millions of dollars in fines and late fees it owes to the state of Ohio.
The doubts I had about this nomination were reinforced when DeVos testified before the Senate committee. She was unprepared to share her beliefs on measurements of student proficiency-versus- growth standards, a central piece of elementary and secondary education policy that has been discussed for years. She was confused when answering a question about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which allows students access to appropriate and effective public education in all states. DeVos was unwilling to commit to continuing the Obama Administration’s regulations and practices for combating sexual assault on college campuses. And perhaps most troubling, she refused to say that guns have no place in schools and suggested that it was an issue that should be left up to the states.
I believe that all children deserve access to a quality public education regardless of their household income, race, ethnicity, neighborhood, or disability status. I believe that the Secretary of Education should fight for all students and families across America. I have serious concerns that Betsy DeVos does not share these beliefs, and I have numerous concerns about her qualifications to serve as Secretary of Education.”