Farcical Senate Closer to Selling Education Secretary Position to Highest Bidder

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Unqualified billionaire Betsy DeVos is one step closer to becoming our next Education Secretary.

 

In one of the most embarrassing displays of subservience, once-respected Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) pushed the nomination through committee this afternoon despite numerous objections from Democrats.

 

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted along party lines 12-11 to bring DeVos before the full Senate. A final vote has not yet been scheduled.

 

DeVos has next to zero experience with public schools. She never attended one. Her children never attended one. She never taught in one. Nor does she even have a degree in education.

 

 

Her entire experience is bribing policymakers to enact Common Core, push school choice measures and reduce transparency at charter schools – measures that have gutted public schools in her home state of Michigan.

 

At her confirmation hearing two weeks ago, DeVos’ ignorance of even the most basic education knowledge was laughably on display.

She wouldn’t commit to protecting students with special needs.

She wouldn’t commit to keeping guns out of school campuses.

She wouldn’t commit to holding charter and voucher schools to the same standards as traditional public schools.

She didn’t know the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was a federal law.

And she couldn’t explain the difference between proficiency and growth, two of the most common academic terms.

DeVos entire qualifications are that, along with her family, she has donated around $200 million to mostly Republican lawmakers.

That includes direct donations to at least five members of the HELP Committee:

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – $70,200

Sen. Tim Scott (R–SC) – $49,200

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) – $48,600

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) – $43,200

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – $43,200

If you add in PACS funded by DeVos and family, the number jumps to 10 members of the committee including Sen. Alexander, himself.

Senators have been bombarded by calls from constituents not to confirm DeVos, but greenbacks apparently talk much louder than our fragile excuse-for-a-Democracy.

However, two GOP members of the committee said that their votes today do not necessarily guarantee support on the final vote.

Sen. Susan Collins, (R-ME) and Sen. Murkowski said they were approving DeVos out of deference to Donald Trump. In effect, the President can nominate whomever he likes, and the Senate should vote on it.

Both Collins and Murkowski said they’re still concerned about DeVos’ seeming lack of commitment to enforce laws protecting disabled students and other policies.

 

“I would advise she not yet count on my vote,” Murkowski said.

 

The Senate, just like the HELP Committee, is controlled by Republicans. DeVos is only another party line vote away from becoming Secretary of Education.

 

It is a position that she has apparently already bought and paid for.

 

Along with her deep ignorance and antipathy toward public schools, Democrats object to DeVos’ financial entanglements. She has already agreed to divest herself from more than 100 investments at the urging of the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics. However, it is difficult to gauge how deeply she is committed to enterprises that could benefit her financially through her position, if confirmed. It is hard to imagine any other candidate for the position with as many ties to for-profit enterprises potentially biasing decisions that should be made for the benefit of the nation’s children and not personal gain.

 

Meanwhile, the ranking Democrat in the HELP committee, Sen. Patty Murray, (D-WA), claims that DeVos may have plagiarized her written answers to questions asked by her committee.

 

DeVos seems to have nearly quoted a Justice Department press release, a magazine article, federal statutes, and Education Department materials without attribution, seemingly passing them off as her own responses, Murray said.

These are mistakes that would earn a public school student a failing grade. Apparently standards are much lower for government office.

Teachers must have advanced degrees just to preside over a classroom. DeVos will be presiding over the nations schools.

It is next to impossible to claim that her nomination is moving forward based on merit.

Our children will be left vulnerable to the whims of a woman who has no idea what she’s doing and has demonstrated a desire to destroy their schools.

If Republicans (and Democrats) have any spine at all, the time has come to show it. Or else just take your dirty money and shut up.

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9 thoughts on “Farcical Senate Closer to Selling Education Secretary Position to Highest Bidder

  1. Every day I am more dismayed by how rapidly The Orange Narcissist is destroying the values of this country. The fact that he is somehow getting the rest of the rascals in office to actually back him is almost sadder. Unbelievable, actually.

    Has America lost it’s collective mind?

    And since I have read the data-mining article, it seems that the novel 1984 was prophetic – just off by several decades. We never should have let the first camel get its nose under our tent, and if those of us who are still sane can’t stop crap like this before it happens, GOD HELP US.

    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. THE IRONY OF THE EVIDENCE: One positive aspect of the DeVos nomination has been the historic outpouring of opposition against her, whether measured by phone calls, marches, Facebook posts, tweets or the reactions to her disastrous hearing testimony in the media. The data is quantitative – US Senators have received over 20,000 anti-DeVos calls for example, but a scan of the Facebook pages of GOP Senators like Lisa Murkowski or Mike Enzi show OVERWHELMING opposition to DeVos by hundreds of comments on every post, citing her lack of experience and her privatization agenda. So we have timestamped for history just how many real people oppose her, as she skated on through the HELP committee on a party line vote.

    The kicker is ESSA, the new education law which urges a stricter standard of evidence and data drive policy making decisions. For education wonks, the PDF is here: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/guidanceuseseinvestment.pdf

    So after the Education Department issues guidelines for eliminating the politicization of education by requiring evidence and proof of efficacy, the Senate education subcommittee makes a mockery of the idea, confirming a candidate that has widespread documented opposition with the whole world watching. It’s no accident the Republicans are rewarding a billionaire political donor with a top post, so the whole idea is to get more and more brazen so the corruption is normalized.

    UNBELIEVABLE: This story out of South Dakota is jarring and shows the direction of state legislatures in the age of Citizens United and billionaire sugar daddies: http://www.salon.com/2017/01/25/south-dakota-republicans-state-of-emergency-is-a-brazen-political-coup-against-anti-corruption-law/

    Like

  3. Speak up or shut-up. This is a cruel joke being played on our Education system and nations future. Contact your elected officials.

    Like

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