Politico’s Morning Education highlights the preparation for a confirmation fight over President-Elect Donald Trump pick for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos when she has her confirmation hearing on January 11.
Democrats will seek to paint Betsy DeVos as Public School Enemy No. 1 as they ramp up a longshot effort to thwart her confirmation to be Education secretary by challenging her qualifications for the job. Already, more than a dozen Democratic senators from all wings of the party have stepped forward to say they’re troubled by at least some aspects of the billionaire philanthropist’s record on public education — a drumbeat that is expected to grow louder in the lead-up to her confirmation hearing. That hearing is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 11.
— Democrats say they will portray DeVos’ views as being outside the education mainstream, citing her history of bankrolling efforts to create state voucher programs, and her support for Michigan’s loosely-regulated charter school sector. They’re also intent on drawing attention to her lack of experience in a traditional public school setting. DeVos has never worked as a public school teacher or superintendent, nor has she sent her own kids to public schools.
The problem, they point out is that Republicans hold a 52 seat majority and they like her views on school choice.
There’s an effort from those of us who have fought against Common Core to try to disrupt her confirmation. The odds are against that. Admittedly we’ve always fought uphill battles so I know that won’t dissuade anyone.
The only way for DeVos’ nomination to be blocked is to have every Democrat oppose her (which is not guaranteed), and to be able to cherry pick three Republicans to vote with them.
Some of our strongest allies in the U.S. Senate have sung DeVos’ praises so I just don’t see it happening. I’m afraid the fight to derail her nomination has more potential to hurt our efforts than help.
This is not to say I’m not concerned with her involvement with pro-Common Core groups, the fact she’s been praised by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and that she was silent on Common Core until the day her nomination was announced.
I’m concerned she still infers that Common Core was something in the realm of high standards that went wrong when they were federalized.
I understand what is driving the effort.
I’m taking the approach instead to have Senators ask these questions when she goes through the confirmation process. Her answers may or may not impact her confirmation, but it will get her on record on important issues that she has been silent on so far.