DeVos Brings a Fresh Approach to Education

12 February, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Evan Mason
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Sojewicz said she hopes that now that DeVos has been confirmed, she will begin to focus her efforts on the 90 percent of students who attend public schools across the country. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote. Senators were inundated with calls, emails, and letters from MI and all over the country calling on them to oppose Betsy DeVos' nomination and still, they chose a major Republican donor over students. It was the first time in history the Vice President was called to break a tie on a cabinet nomination. We know here in MI that her agenda has always been at odds with strengthening public education, and has even been detrimental to it at times. This was reflected in questions posed to DeVos regarding conversion therapy (she opposes), LGBT rights (she supports equality of all people), and her family's contributions to religious groups (so?).

Mayor Jim Kenney echoed those concerns in a letter to Toomey, "This is about whether the U.S. Senate should appoint someone to a job she does not understand, which could have tremendous consequences for our most vulnerable children and our economy". She merely will be head of the U.S. Department of Education, one of the least powerful cabinet agencies in the federal government and one arguably that shouldn't even exist.

Several of Willis' students on Tuesday questioned DeVos' priorities and said they think it's important to speak out on public school issues.

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The National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the country, also denounced the 51-50 vote to install DeVos at the Department of Education. "DeVos shows an antipathy for public schools; a full-throttled embrace of private, for-profit alternatives; and a lack of basic understanding of what children need to succeed in school", said Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers.

Before voting to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Scott spoke on the Senate floor regarding the necessity of improving our nation's education system, saying he supports public education. Ms. DeVos is a strong supporter of empowering parents and providing educational opportunity for all, policies Senator Rubio has supported for over a decade. In Detroit, only half of charter schools are doing any better than the public schools, which consistently score as the worst in the nation. Fundamentally, DeVos does not recognize why her commitment to all charters is problematic simply because she can not properly evaluate their successes. "I think it's the wrong choice, and I'll leave it at that". Even Democrats like Wall Street magnate Whitney Tilson, a founding member of Teach for America, have put their money and power behind charter schools and allied with the Obama administration to advance the "reform" agenda. The editorial board of the Detroit Free Press, the most popular paper in Michigan's biggest city, urged senators to reject Ms DeVos's appointment.

With two Republicans joining Democrats in a marathon effort to oppose the wealthy Republican donor from MI, it took Vice President Mike Pence to break a 50-50 tie by casting the deciding vote Tuesday. Her duties as education secretary include establishing policies for federal assistance to the state for secondary schools and higher education, as well as helping enforce federal law involving schools. The chances you will be watching are bested only by the chances a grizzly bear walks into your kid's school today.

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