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DeVos nomination on thin ice with 2 GOP senators opposed

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    Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 17 at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

WASHINGTON >> Donald Trump’s nomination of school choice activist Betsy DeVos as education secretary is on thin ice after two Republican senators vowed to vote against her.

DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor who spent more than two decades promoting charter schools, has emerged as one of Trump’s most controversial Cabinet picks facing fierce opposition from Democrats, teachers unions and civil rights activists. With Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in opposition, the nomination could die if DeVos loses the support of one more Republican — and all Democrats vote against her.

Murkowski said she believed DeVos has much to learn about public education.

“I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of education who has been so involved on one side of the equation, so immersed in the push for vouchers that she may be unaware of what actually is successful within the public schools and also what is broken and how to fix them,” Murkowski said.

If all other GOP senators support DeVos, and all Democrats oppose her, she would end up with a 50-50 vote in the Senate and Vice President Mike Pence would have to break the tie to confirm her. A vote is expected in the coming days.

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, praised DeVos and expressed confidence that she would be confirmed.

“Mrs. DeVos believes in our children, their teachers and parents — she believes in the local school board instead of the national school board,” Alexander said in a statement. “She’s committed to public education, and there’s no better example of that than her work on the most important reform of public schools in the last 30 years — public charter schools.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he wasn’t concerned about the defections by Collins and Murkowski.

“I have 100 percent confidence she will be the next secretary of education. She is an unbelievably qualified educator and advocate for students, teachers, parents,” he said after the two senators announced their opposition.

Democrats have vigorously opposed DeVos, questioning her commitment to public education, her overall qualifications to lead the Education Department and her views on LGBT rights, the needs of students with disabilities and potential conflicts of interest arising from her business holdings.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, expressed hope Wednesday that other Republicans would also reconsider their support for DeVos.

“The more people get to know how ill-equipped Betsy DeVos is to strengthen public schools, how disconnected she is from public schools, and how her record is focused on pursuing for-profit charters and vouchers and not on helping children, the more the people who believe in the importance of public education are joining to oppose her,” Weingarten said.

DeVos, 59, is the wife of Dick DeVos, the heir to the Amway marketing fortune. She has spent more than two decades advocating for charter schools in her home state of Michigan, as well as promoting conservative religious values.

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  • It’s about time there is a major shake-up of our educational system. The tried and tested system has flunked and students emerging currently cannot compete with students from other countries. A decentralized educational system enhances the opportunity to compete toward excellence rather than one size fits all. Thought control can easily be affected as been demonstrated during WWII by the Nazis. The new nominee may bring this about wherein local autonomy influences the school curriculum. Of course I grew up when that was the case, in the 30’s. Love home made lunches and filthy tooth-brush racks we had in 1st grade where we brushed our teeth together before classes started.

  • Too bad DeVos is such a horrid nominee, as she’d fit perfectly with her Republican cohorts.
    DeVos plagiarized answers on her Senate questionnaire. Conservative commentator Monica Crowley, who was going to serve in a national security communications position for Trump, plagiarized much of her 2000 dissertation for her Ph.D. Melania Trump read her own plagiarized speech at the Republican National Convention.

    I thought every student in the U.S. was told not to cheat and not to plagiarize. Then, along comes a person ready to be in charge of Education who plagiarized her questionnaire.

    Trump drained the swamp and filling it back up, with polluted waste.

    • “However, it appears that one of the questions Murray had given to DeVos was in fact cribbed from another source without proper citation. ”

      PS I copied this from

    • seaborn – At her first confirmation hearing, Ms. DeVos’s answers were so bizarre, that people in the gallery were chuckling at her ignorance of public education. A terrible nominee.

      You should check out the You Tube file of Senator Franken’s questioning. She knows absolutely nothing about education.

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