Groups Vow to Protect Public Education Under DeVos

"We are very concerned as inner-city students that our rights and public education system are being threatened by her appointment".

In an all-staff department meeting on Wednesday, DeVos described herself as the "newbie" and acknowledged that there had been differences of opinion about her qualifications. The task of any leader is to assuage concerns of employees and encourage them to focus on the work at hand. "She is well qualified to serve as education secretary". "I will challenge all on how and why we've done things a certain way".

This hyper-partisan outcome means that, as a practical matter, school choice will need to be done as part of a bill subject to the reconciliation process that requires only 51 votes in the U.S. Senate.

President Donald Trump accused Democrats of seeking to torpedo education progress.

Protesters also say Rubio accepted more than $98,000 in campaign dollars from the DeVos family, and they don't think he should even be involved in the confirmation vote. "She is the most incompetent cabinet-level nominee I have ever seen".

"I can not ever stand against a parent having options", he told the group, according to the Journal, "because I benefited from my parents having options". However, DeVos' dogmatic and one-size-fits-all commitment to charter schools is troubling, especially given that she does not acknowledge the failures along with the success stories.

"Closing a school does not improve the education of children in anyway and it actually causes a lot instability in the neighborhoods and communities", says Harris.

Regular readers of our NPR Ed blog know that the main K-12 education law was reauthorized a year ago as the Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, which covers annual testing, among other things.

Close attention also will be paid to how DeVos deals with sexual assault and freedom of speech on campuses.

Ahead of Tuesday's vote, emotions ran high as constituents jammed senators' phone lines.

Betsy DeVos is one more brick in that wall. Their discontent arose after she was asked if schools which receive federal funding should abide by the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law that requires public schools to provide "free and appropriate" education to students with disabilities. 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.

It's telling that even when Trump had full control of the legislative and executive branches, he could only get DeVos confirmed by an unprecedented tiebreaking vote by his vice president. In her home state of MI experiments with vouchers and charter schools, which Ms DeVos and her family have backed financially, have shown poor results.

DeVos was confirmed following a marathon 24-hour debate in the Senate, where Democrats decried the West Michigan native as inexperienced and said her support of taxpayer-funded vouchers and charter schools have undermined traditional public schools.

Critics have questioned DeVos' support of school vouchers and charter schools; her lack of experience with public schools as an educator, administrator, student or parent; and her comments on issues such as banning guns in schools - she has said she would not necessarily support a ban because of the potential threat from grizzly bears in some wilderness areas. Five senators who received donations from DeVos' family sit on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

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