Reaction to DeVos confirmation: Sadness, outrage, concern

The Wisconsin Gazette

After the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Secretary of Education, Newtown Action Alliance issued this statement:

“It’s a sad day for all school children, educators, and parents in America. The majority of Republican members of the U.S. Senate confirmed an unqualified billionaire who supports the NRA’s ‘guns in schools’ agenda. Betsy DeVos nor any of her children attended public schools and she is not an educator. She has not been forced to oversee lockdown drills for potential active shooting situations in classrooms. We will work vehemently to oppose the NRA’s efforts to put guns in our schools to protect our children.

We are outraged that these 51 Republicans voted “yes” for Betsy DeVos. We hope the voters will hold them accountable on Election Day in 2018 and 2020.

 

Voted YES to DeVos

State

Election 2018

Election 2020

Republican

Vice President Mike Pence

x

Republican

Jeff Sessions

Alabama

x

Republican

Richard C. Shelby

Alabama

Republican

Dan Sullivan

Alaska

x

Republican

John McCain

Arizona

Republican

Jeff Flake

Arizona

x

Republican

Tom Cotton

Arkansas

x

Republican

John Boozman

Arkansas

Republican

Cory Gardner

Colorado

x

Republican

Marco Rubio

Florida

Republican

David Perdue

Georgia

x

Republican

Johnny Isakson

Georgia

Republican

Jim Risch

Idaho

x

Republican

Michael D. Crapo

Idaho

Republican

Todd Young

Indiana

Republican

Joni Ernst

Iowa

x

Republican

Charles E. Grassley

Iowa

Republican

Jerry Moran

Kansas

Republican

Pat Roberts

Kansas

x

Republican

Rand Paul

Kentucky

Republican

Mitch McConnell

Kentucky

x

Republican

Bill Cassidy

Louisiana

x

Republican

John Kennedy

Louisiana

Republican

Roger Wicker

Mississippi

x

Republican

Thad Cochran

Mississippi

x

Republican

Steve Daines

Montana

x

Republican

Roy Blunt Mo.

Montana

Republican

Deb Fischer

Nebraska

x

Republican

Ben Sasse

Nebraska

x

Republican

Dean Heller

Nevada

x

Republican

Richard M. Burr

North Carolina

Republican

Thom Tillis

North Carolina

x

Republican

John Hoeven

North Dakota

Republican

Rob Portman

Ohio

Republican

James M. Inhofe

Oklahoma

x

Republican

James Lankford

Oklahoma

Republican

Patrick J. Toomey

Pennsylvania

Republican

Tim Scott

South Carolina

Republican

Lindsey Graham

South Carolina

x

Republican

Michael Rounds

South Dakota

x

Republican

John Thune

South Dakota

Republican

Bob Corker

Tennessee

x

Republican

Lamar Alexander

Tennessee

x

Republican

Ted Cruz

Texas

x

Republican

John Cornyn

Texas

x

Republican

Mike Lee

Utah

Republican

Orrin G. Hatch

Utah

x

Republican

Shelley Moore Capito

West Virginia

x

Republican

Ron Johnson

Wisconsin

Republican

Michael B. Enzi

Wyoming

x

Republican

John Barrasso

Wyoming

x

More reaction

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Betsy DeVos has never been a student, parent, supporter, or employee in a public school or school system in any capacity, and yet she is now tasked with ensuring our nation’s children have equal access to a quality education.  The fact that her confirmation vote was the first in American history to require a tie breaking vote by the Vice President speaks to the widespread concern about her qualifications raised by the civil rights community, concerned parents and educators from across the country.

We applaud all Senate Democrats and Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski for putting a commitment to enforcing our education and civil rights laws above party politics.

The Department of Education has a legal obligation to protect the civil rights of all students, and we, along with our coalition partners, will be watching to ensure that Secretary DeVos fulfills that responsibility.  Our children are entitled to, and deserve, a quality education regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexuality, first language, family income or immigration status.

While a setback, this vote is not a defeat.  Working with partners at the federal, state and local level, we will hold this new Secretary accountable to faithfully executing our nation’s education and civil rights laws.  Our Constitution, economy, future and children deserve no less.

Mark Huelsman, senior policy analyst and higher education expert at Demos
The unprecedented level of uncertainty shown by both Democrats and Republicans surrounding Betsy DeVos’ ability to serve as Secretary of Education should have been enough to disqualify her from assuming this position.
In the weeks preceding this vote, legislators saw an outpouring of opposition to her nomination from their constituents. However, by choosing to confirm DeVos, the Senate has chosen to ignore the real warning signs posed by her inability to commit to protecting students and borrowers, fight for student aid and debt relief programs, and articulate a vision of how to make college affordable for all Americans.
While we have no assurances that DeVos will champion the change our education system truly needs, we will continue to advocate for policies that support affordable higher education and equal access for all students.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross

Make no mistake, Betsy DeVos bought Sen. Ron Johnson’s vote with $49,000 in campaign contributions.

Unfortunately with the confirmation vote on Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary wealth, privilege and crass political calculation trump the best interests of our children, our schools and our universities today.

Those who put partisan politics and personal ambition before the best interests of schools and children in supporting DeVos have lost any claim to credibility on public education issues.

Betsy DeVos is manifestly unqualified to be Education Secretary, lacking of knowledge, expertise and commitment to public education and plagiarizing of written answers submitted to U.S. Senators.

What she has is a personal fortune she deployed to underwrite propaganda campaigns and fatten the campaign accounts of politicians like Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ron Johnson and other Republicans in Wisconsin and across the nation.

What does not end is our resistance to those who would take money from our public schools to give to less accountable private voucher schools or the fight for student loan debt reform and college affordability.