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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Congresswoman Waters Condemns the Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

February 8, 2017
Press Release

Washington D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters condemned the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. The Senate vote, which was tied at 50-50 due to the conscientious defection of two Republican Senators, was ultimately decided by Vice President Mike Pence.  It is unprecedented in American history for a Vice President to break a tie in order to confirm a cabinet nominee.  

“Never in the history of our nation has there been a cabinet nominee so divisive among members of the Senate that a vote by the Vice President was required to ensure confirmation.  Following Betsy DeVos’ January 18th hearing, it was evident that she lacked the necessary knowledge and commitment to effectively lead the Department of Education and support our nation’s public schools. Not only was she unable to meaningfully discuss the debate over proficiency and growth, she did not demonstrate even a basic understanding of charter school accountability standards.  Even worse, she was unaware of federal law that set standards for educating students with disabilities. This lack of understanding of the federal educational landscape does not inspire confidence that her leadership will espouse equity, much less continuity, for all students.

Betsy DeVos’ only experience in education policy has been focused on lobbying against public education and not in any practical educational role. Betsy DeVos has not served students as a teacher, a principal or as any other type of school administrator.  She has not served on a school board or as a school system leader.  As Secretary of Education, we can expect Betsy DeVos to pursue her agenda of privatizing public schools, diverting crucial taxpayer dollars away from students who need them, and relaxing important protections against fraud, waste, and abuse across the education system.

I remain steadfastly committed to making sure all Americans have access to high quality public education, and I will do everything in my power to hold Betsy DeVos accountable for advancing quality education to all students across the country.”