Education Nominee Betsy DeVos’s hurdles


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Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos has hit roadblocks on her path to Senate approval. This includes her ineffective confirmation hearing, lack of experience, numerous challengers and charges of plagiarism.

Since DeVos’s hearing, she has been an unpopular choice. Her answers to questions asking about accountability and guns in school left many doubting her. Fairfax High School math teacher Kristina Cecere said, “her Senate confirmation hearing videos were questionable at best. I think what really turned me off was her understanding on how schools are assessed.” Sen. Tim Kaine had repeatedly asked DeVos if public schools that received taxpayer funding should be assessed under the same standards. DeVos convolutedly said no. Cecere disagrees that schools should have different standards for accountability because then “you can’t compare the schools especially if you are giving taxpayer money to the charter schools.”

DeVos’s lack of experience centers on the fact that she has neither worked in a public school nor has she attended one. FHS English teacher Hana Lee said that it, “does raise a red flag to her experience with the public school system, considering the fact that she has a lot of connections to the private sector of education, rather than the public sector of education.” As Secretary of Education, DeVos would be in charge of the U.S. Department of Education as well as advising the president on educational policy for public schools.

Recently two sitting Republican senators, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have even said in speeches that they oppose her nomination. This is on top of the reports that no Democrat will vote for her. Lee believes that this “adds the concern that there should be more scrutiny on her background.” However many Republicans still are confident she will be approved.

Moreover, reports discovered that DeVos had plagiarized section of her written response given to the Senate committee. According to CNN, she had almost directly copied her responses about how children should feel safe in school from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta’s press release last year. Lee said that “if the charges are true [plagiarism] it shows that she is unqualified if she has to plagiarize her answers to answer questions regarding the job position.”

In addition to her blunders, DeVos is not as familiar to the people. Besides her confirmation hearing, many people know much about her. “Now has [Congress] done a second interview with her through the committee and we have a better picture of who she is, rather than just getting the interview questions she just copied and pasted off of websites…. I don’t have a good picture of her ….  So right now I don’t feel like she is qualified for that,” said Cecere.

Cecere has taken action against DeVos’s nomination and urges other like minded people to speak up. “I would hope that as someone in the state of Virginia, I have been contacting my senator and expressing my oppositions to him, and I really hope Congress listens to their constituents. I know that a lot of people throughout the country who are calling their senator saying you should really listen to what she is saying.”

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