In response to the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. Secretary of Education, AFSA President Diann Woodard released the following statement:
I am extremely disappointed with the United States Senate’s confirmation of Mrs. DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans called their Senators, and urged them not to confirm Mrs. DeVos. Virtually every major national education association opposed her nomination. Numerous newspaper editorials called on the Senate to reject her. All grounded their opposition to her assuming this post in her lack of qualifications for the position, her history of advocating the use of public dollars to support private schools, and her unfamiliarity with education policy.
Nonetheless, 50 Senators and the Vice President of the United States ignored the will of the peopleand voted aye to confirm her. This is unprecedented in our great nation’s history, and it is truly troubling.
The Secretary of Education is the most important position in our nation, as it relates to education. The Secretary is responsible for k-12 through higher education issues and must deal with a wide range of critical education issues. This inherently requires a broad base of supporters across the education landscape. It is clear that Mrs. DeVos lacks the substantial support of the education community, and the nation.
I am proud of the activism we witnessed, and the passion for public education that was on full display throughout this sometimes ugly process. Moving forward, AFSA will work with supporters of public education to make sure that Secretary DeVos is held accountable for her actions.
As school leaders, we strongly believe in a high quality public education for all children. We hope that Ms. DeVos will do everything in her power to make that a reality, as AFSA will be doing everything in ours.