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DeVos positioned to disrupt public education

DeVos positioned to disrupt public education

Charter school advocate Betsy DeVos won confirmation as education secretary Tuesday by the slimmest of margins, pushed to approval only by the historic tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence. The entire 48-strong Democratic caucus voted against Ms DeVos and so did two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is blasting Tuesday's Senate vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as secretary of Education, saying it is a "sad day for children". According to the Senate historian, it was the first time in Senate history that a vice president was needed to break a tie on a Cabinet nominee.

"Next year I'll have my first public high school teaching job, and I am still really excited about it despite this monstrous mistake being posted as our head of the Department of Ed", biologist and science teacher Allie Sherman, from Marin County, California, said. Two independent-minded Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME, joined them in voting no.

Americans say they care about public education, but they haven't the slightest idea how public education works in this country.

"I hope to earn your trust and confidence as we work together", she said. But under charter and voucher systems, how many low-income students actually have access to alternative schools?

"Throughout this entire process, Betsy DeVos has shown that she is unqualified for the position, but that didn't seem to matter to most Republicans because they and their party have benefitted from the huge campaign contributions signed by the DeVos family". I am honored to be a soldier in that movement for children.

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"The irony is inescapable; teachers have to demonstrate they are qualified in order to stand in front of a classroom, and now we have the leader of education in the USA with no qualifications", said Carl Korn, spokesman for the New York State United Teachers, referring to DeVos' lack of direct experience in public education.

In fact, DeVos was condemned by many on the left because she has no previous experience in public education and favors school choice through the use of vouchers and "tax credit scholarships", which allow companies to grant scholarships to young students and offset tax liability. The vice president came down to the Senate and he broke that vote, which got her over the finish line. That's why we leave that to Public Safety to protect us and take care of us.

Students acknowledged DeVos had already been confirmed, but were also protesting the vote of Toomey. "But far too many kids, too many millions of kids today, do not have a quality educational choice in their communities", he said. Betsy DeVos co-founded GLEP, and she was on the board when the group lobbied for the law. Her appointment as education secretary could bring her another chance to make that happen. 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?).

However, agency officials said the issue is nothing more than a technical glitch that is being addressed.

The start of the Trump administration creates an opportunity to ensure state and local governance of education, which is essential to enhance public education. "Clearly, if money were the solution, our schools would be problem-free".

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