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Despite Escalating Opposition, Confirmation of Betsy DeVos is Likely

Despite the fact that no Democratic senators in the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee are expected to vote "yes" for secretary of education nominee Betsy DeVos during her confirmation hearing on Jan. 31, she's likely to be confirmed regardless.

This is also despite a wave of growing opposition this week that has nearly dominated the Internet and certainly every conversation regarding education. This week alone:

That's just this week. Main complaints about DeVos include her billionaire ties, commitment to controversial methods of school reform and her lack of experience both working in and dealing with public schools:

  • "Betsy DeVos would single-handedly decimate our public education system if she were confirmed. Her plan to privatize education would deprive students from a good public education, while helping students from wealthy families get another leg up." - Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • "What [rendered] her unacceptable was her abysmal performance at her confirmation hearing Tuesday, during which she displayed an astonishing ignorance about basic education issues, an extraordinary lack of thoughtfulness about ongoing debates in the field and an unwillingness to respond to important questions." - L.A. Times editorial board
  • She needs to "[s]pend some time in our schools. There is no substitute for seeing firsthand what works so well in our public schools or for seeing the indefensible conditions that too many students, teachers, and staff endure." - Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers

After her Senate hearings, concerns amplified as Democrats used their allotted time to deliver hard-hitting questions, many of which DeVos fumbled to answer. Still, because Republicans hold the majority and there has yet to be a Republican senator who has opposed her, it's likely she will be easily confirmed.

Given the fact that her confirmation is likely, the question becomes not will she be confirmed, but what will she do when she's confirmed?

Most policy experts aren't exactly sure. President Donald Trump was deemed a wild card when it comes to education policy while campaigning, and many experts' opinions have not changed since his election or his cabinet decision.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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