DeVos confirmation: Some 'disappointed,' others praise 'new chapter'

DeVos sworn in as Secretary of Education

WASHINGTON - None of President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominations have received as much attention as the nomination of Michigan's Betsy DeVos, a school reform advocate who was confirmed today in a historic vote to be U.S. education secretary.

Here's some of the reaction:

“We may not have won this fight today, but people across the country have stood up and made their voices heard on the importance of strong public education in America, and we are not going to stand down. ... Republicans ignored the pressure from their constituents and jammed this nomination through."

- U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who led the opposition to DeVos in the Senate

“The President made an excellent choice to lead the Department of Education. ... Millions of families share Secretary DeVos’ vision for disrupting a failed status quo that has denied too many children access to a quality education. It’s time to upend the entrenched special interests that put adults above genuine reforms that will raise student achievement."

- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, an ally in school reform efforts of DeVos'

"Today’s outcome marks only the beginning of the resistance. Students, educators, parents, civil rights and special education advocates — along with millions of Americans — are speaking loud and clear: We are here to stay … we will protect public education."

- National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García

"Betsy DeVos's confirmation as Education secretary is a positive step forward for the millions of public school children across America who have been failed by a broken education system. Her leadership and drive will deliver meaningful reforms and start a new chapter for all children — no matter race, socioeconomic status, or zip code — to have access to high-quality schools."

- Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools in New York

“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans confirmed Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education. I’ve heard from an overwhelming number of Michigan families who have shared their strong concerns about her long record of pushing policies that have seriously undermined public education in Michigan and failed our children. That is why I joined with half of my Senate colleagues, including two Republicans, to oppose her nomination.”

- U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

“For 28 years, Betsy DeVos has made it her mission to ensure children receive a quality education, and now she will be able to do that on a much large scale. Secretary DeVos will be an excellent secretary of education, fixing our schools and at the same time providing children and families choices to find the school that fits their needs.”

- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette

“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 tie-breaking vote by his vice president. That’s because 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."

- American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten

"With her experience and commitment to fighting the failing status quo in education today, Betsy DeVos is a leader who understands the importance of improving choice, access, and accountability in our education system."

- Andrew Clark, executive director of Generation Opportunity, a network promoting smaller government

“Throughout the confirmation process, the Education Trust expressed concerns about Betsy DeVos’ commitment to fully embracing public education and to using the full range of tools at the secretary’s disposal to protect and advance opportunity and achievement for low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities. Those concerns remain."

- John B. King, former Education secretary and incoming president and CEO of The Education Trust, a D.C.-based advocacy group for low-income and minority students

“Today’s vote sets the stage for an exciting dialogue about the future of our education system, led by someone who understands that better outcomes can’t be dictated from Washington."

- Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips

“I voted against the nomination of Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor, because she is the most incompetent Cabinet-level nominee I have ever seen. Last night, I urged my Republican colleagues to oppose her nomination, because if we cannot set party loyalty aside long enough to perform the essential duty of vetting the president’s nominees, then I don’t know what we are even doing here."

- U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

"The union bosses in the teachers’ unions threw everything including the kitchen sink at Betsy because they understand all too well that she won’t tolerate their excuses for the failed status quo in American education. The sad truth is that far too many kids are trapped in failing public schools that are relegating them to second-class status."

- Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

"As her testimony before the U.S. Senate revealed, she lacks a basic understanding of current education concepts and policy issues. Bizarrely, she appeared to not even understand that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires public schools to accommodate children with disabilities."

-  Rhonda Brownstein, Southern Poverty Law Center legal director

"Under her leadership, there will be no Washington mandates for Common Core, for teacher evaluation, or for vouchers. She has been a leader in the movement for public charter schools – the most successful reform of public education during the last 30 years. And she has worked tirelessly to help low-income children have more choices of better schools.”

-  U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who led the push for her confirmation

Detroit Free Press


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