Betsy DeVos has shockingly been confirmed as the Secretary of Education after Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie between Republican and Democratic Senators’ votes on February 7. The controversial appointment brings severe consequences for students and educators across the United States.
As noon approached on Capitol Hill on February 7 after a nearly 24-hour filibuster by Democratic senators to delay voting on her appointment, Vice President Mike Pence, 59, arrived on the floor to officially confirm Betsy DeVos, 59, as Secretary of Education in a 51-50 vote. The tie-breaking vote appointed one of the most controversial cabinet nominees the White House may have ever seen.
Her confirmation is historic. This is the first time that a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to cast the tie-breaking vote on a cabinet nomination, a Senate historian stated.
Democrats have done everything in their power to keep delaying the vote on DeVos, including refusing to show up to deciding sessions, and this latest filibuster, senators taking shifts on the Senate floor all night to keep the talkathon going. in an unprecedented move, two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, broke rank with their party and refused to vote for DeVos, as well.
But it was for naught; Pence’s tie-breaker was enough to vote in DeVos, a billionaire top Republican donor with little educational experience. Bad news for public schools, students, educators, parents, those burdened with student loans, and anyone who’s dreamed of going to college — good news for those terribly worried about fighting off grizzly bears.
While DeVos has a passion for education and headed an education PAC, her Senate confirmation hearings revealed that she disturbingly lacked even a basic understanding of the public school system and laws put in place to protect students. DeVos, at one point, seemed to not understand that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act exists, and implied that schools should be able to decide whether they take disabled students. This is the person now in charge of education in the United States.
Democratic senators have questioned her conflicts of interest in the role, citing her millions donated to the GOP; she could serve to profit off the role. Her appointment is concerning for the public school system, as she has been a longtime champion of charter schools. She also advocates vouchers that allow students to pay tuition at private, religious, and for-profit schools using taxpayer dollars. She was grilled by Senator Elizabeth Warren for being out of touch with public schooling and the cost of education; as a billionaire, neither she, nor anyone else in her family has ever had to take out a student loan — will she care about or understand those who do?
HollywoodLifers, are you shocked by the Betsy DeVos decision? Tell us in the comments!