Alexander: Senate Poised to Confirm Betsy DeVos and “Swap a National School Board for a Local School Board”

“She believes what 85 of us voted for in the law that President Obama called a ‘Christmas Miracle’ in December, 2015—and that is to reverse the trend from a national school board and restore control of our children and our schools to those closest to the children. There will be no mandates for Common Core, no mandates for teacher evaluation, no mandates for vouchers from the United States Department of Education headed by Betsy DeVos.”

Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the Senate was poised to confirm Betsy DeVos on Tuesday, “swapping a national school board for a local school board,” after the Senate today voted to end debate on her nomination and move to a vote.

“She believes what 85 of us voted for in the law that President Obama called a ‘Christmas Miracle’ in December, 2015—and that is to reverse the trend from a national school board and restore control of our children and our schools to those closest to the children,” Alexander said. “There will be no mandates for Common Core, no mandates for teacher evaluation, no mandates for vouchers from the United States Department of Education headed by Betsy DeVos. We’ll be swapping a national school board for what she believes in, which is a local school board—which is what 85 of us voted for.”

“Over the last 30 years as this country has worked to try to improve our public schools, much of that energy has come from outside the public school establishment,” 
Alexander said. “In the mid-1980s, all of the governors met together in 1985 and 1986 on one subject for a whole year: the purpose was how can we help improve our public schools? … Since that time, many governors, many business leaders have worked hard in support of our public schools, trying to help them become even better opportunities for our children, and among those has been Betsy DeVos.”
He continued, “There are 22 governors who have written letters to me, as chairman of the Senate’s education committee, supporting Betsy DeVos.
They see her as someone from outside the system of public education who, as they worked for 30 years, can help change and improve it.  …Four of the education secretaries support Betsy DeVos: Bill Bennett, Rod Paige, Margaret Spellings—I support her.” 

“Now, some have said she has spent her time working on giving children choices of schools other than public schools. She’s done that. And it’s always puzzled me as to why anybody would criticize that. The idea that a low-income child should have the same opportunity or more of the same opportunities that a wealthy family has would seem to me to be a very all-American idea. And not only does it seem to be, it’s an idea that underlies the most successful piece of social policy our country has ever enacted, arguably: The G.I. Bill for Veterans in 1944. Think about that. The veterans came home from World War II. We gave them a scholarship. It followed them to the college of their choice.

“Mrs. DeVos has argued for the same thing for children. Why is an idea that’s helped to create the Greatest Generation and the greatest colleges in the world so dangerous for schools? … [S]he has been among the forefront of the leaders like the governors for the most successful reform over the last 30 years to change and improve public education, and that would be the public charter schools. Those began with 12 schools in Minnesota, created by the Democratic Farmer Labor Party in the early 1990’s. Since then, charter schools have been supported by every president: President Obama, President Clinton, Presidents Bush, President Obama’s most recent Education Secretary was a founder of charter schools.

“This Congress four times, by bipartisan majorities has supported charter schools. The last six United States Education Secretaries have supported charter schools. Charter schools have grown from 12 Democratic Farmer Labor schools to 6,800 today and 2.9 million children go there. Teachers have more freedom and parents have more choices. They are public schools, and Betsy DeVos is on the forefront of helping to create that opportunity for public education.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login