President Donald Trump’s nomination of billionaire Betsy DeVos for U.S. Education Secretary caused immediate and intense reactions from supporting and opposing sides.
Her final approval by the U.S. Senate, which required Vice President Pence to cast a historic vote to break a 50-50 tie, shows just how turbulent her nomination process was. That approval came after a close party-line vote in the Senate HELP Committee.
Democrats have consistently argued that DeVos is unqualified to hold a national education position because she has never taught, attended, or sent her children to public schools. She stumbled over important issues in her confirmation hearings, including IDEA requirements, proficiency versus growth, and whether schools receiving taxpayer dollars should be held to the same accountability standards.
Republicans, who hold the majority in the full Senate, maintain that DeVos is committed to all children, and they have praised her support for school choice and vouchers.
In an informal eSchool News poll of 464 voters, 93 percent said DeVos displayed a lack of knowledge about education and education policy, and that her views contradict their own values on education. Six percent said DeVos kept a level head and answered truthfully and knowledgeably. One percent were unsure.