Betsy DeVos Jumps Massive Hurdle On Route To Being Education Secretary

Senate Has Moved DeVos Nomination Along For One More Vote

One of President Donald Trump’s most contentious nominations has passed another severe test in becoming a part of his Cabinet. The Senate voted 52-48 in an early morning vote to move forward with Betsy DeVos as the Education Secretary. The early morning vote was a way to counteract Democrats who are unhappy with DeVos’s selection. The Senate is expected to confirm her on Monday with the help of Vice President Mike Pence—who is there to break an expected 50-50 tie.

According to Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, DeVos is “one of the worst nominees that has ever been” nominated for a Cabinet position. He also pleaded with those who are voting in favor of DeVos to “look into their conscience” and reconsider their support of the Education secretary nominee.

“The more people who watched her performance in that hearing, the more they see how ill-equipped DeVos is to do the mission, the more outraged regular Americans have gotten,”Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers said to NPR. “DeVos is the least qualified, the most ill-prepared and the most hostile to public education of anyone who’s ever had that role.”

Floridians may know of DeVos as she has a lot of Florida ties and connections. She worked with former governor Jeb Bush, who ran against Donald Trump in the primary, to help with the Florida education system. She also served on Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and gave large contributions. Her family is also a part owner in the Orlando Magic and they have a house in central Florida. Forbes puts her wealth at an estimated $1.25 billion, which brings yet another billionaire to the nominee table by Donald Trump.

For those who aren’t familiar with DeVos and her views on education, she believes in a “pro-choice” solution to education. Her views also contend that public schools are failing, which she went on record as saying in 2013 to the “Philanthropy” magazine. She also wants to limit regulations and oversight to charter schools. She worked on the Great Lakes Education project, which could be considered a blue print for her policies.

The Great Lakes Education project is a advocacy group which supports full or comprehensive choice options or known as portability. What that means according to the GLEP is that the money follows the child to his or her school of choice.

“We want the investment in a child’s education, be they federal or state dollars, we want [that money] to follow that child to the school of their choice whether it’s public or private,” executive director Gary Naeyert said in an interview with NPR.

However, this could change the whole education system that currently has 9 out of every 10 American students going to a public school. Which is why some teacher unions have spoken out against this type of philosophy due to the fact that if funds would be taken away from the public schools and put into charter schools. Michigan, where DeVos has had a big impact on education decisions has transitioned to 80 percent of their schools being charter schools.

“Michigan charter schools are viewed as the wild, wild West of charters in the United States. You need to have accountability for all, for charters as well as other public schools,” Weingarten said to NPR. “Remember, DeVos is a big believer in for-profit education. She’s a big believer in vouchers, which after 25 years have not shown anything like the promise that they were sold about and, indeed, have not helped kids.”

Weingarten is just one of many who have criticism of DeVos’ policy. There have been others who have come forward with the same criticism—for profit education has a negative effect, especially if it is going to have a lack of oversight, which is what DeVos believes needs to happen.

Douglas Harris, a professor of economics at Tulane University has studied the issue very closely. He has focused on this issue not only on a state level but on a national level too. He has said that she has promoted ideas that have had a poor success rate.

“Education is probably the best example where you really need to have some external oversight to make sure that the schools are actually enrolling students in a fair way,” Harris said. “That they’re not pushing out students that they don’t want, and making sure that all students are being served.”

Thomas Fernandez is the managing editor for Sports Talk Florida and News Talk Florida. He started his career in media by covering the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning. After covering the NHL for two years, he hopped on board the news cycle and has been covering both sports and news for the last year. He has covered major sporting events as well as politics which affects the Florida audience. Thomas is a Tampa native and graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor of arts in Public Relations.