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Policymakers, Education Experts React to Betsy DeVos' Confirmation as Education Secretary

While it's up for debate whether or not Trump's nomination for secretary of education received historic opposition, it's undebatable that for the first time in history, the vice president had to be called upon to cast a tie-breaking vote for a cabinet nomination.

Thanks to Vice President Pence, a 50-50 tied vote in the Senate was broken and Betsy DeVos was confirmed as secretary of education after a long and rocky nomination process.

Policymakers and education experts from all backgrounds and specializations have come out to release official statements on the controversial candidate's nomination. Take a look below to find out where some of the biggest names in education stand on the matter.

Former Presidential Candidate and Long-Time Education Advocate Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush, currently the President and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, has supported Betsy DeVos as education secretary since she was nominated in November. Today, Bush reaffirmed his support with the following statement:

"Millions of families share Secretary DeVos' vision for disrupting a failed status quo that has denied too many children access to a quality education. It's time to upend the entrenched special interests that put adults above genuine reforms that will raise student achievement."

"I hope the senators who opposed Secretary DeVos' nomination will now put aside the tired arguments of the unions and come together to prioritize the needs of students."

Former Education Secretary John B. King, Jr.

The most recent former education secretary under the Obama administration John B. King, Jr. has released a statement articulating his hopes that DeVos will work to prove opponents' concerns wrong.

King, who will now become president and CEO of the Education Trust, said that while his concerns about the protection of all students' civil rights remain, he hopes DeVos can prove him and his peers wrong.

"As the former Secretary of Education, I sincerely hope that Ms. DeVos will work hard to prove these concerns wrong and will lead the Department in a manner that protects fundamental civil rights and promotes opportunity and achievement for all students. And the Ed Trust will do what advocates for the nation's most vulnerable children always do: work with and support her wherever we can find common cause, and vigorously oppose any action that would undermine continued progress for the children on whose behalf we work every day," King said.

President of Advocates for Youth

Debra Hauser, the President for the Advocates for Youth, "a group that champions efforts that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health," released the following statement:

“We are gravely disappointed that so underqualified a candidate has been confirmed as Secretary of Education. Quality public education can make or break whether children, teenagers, and college students succeed. Our education system goes beyond academia, affecting students’ safety, well-being, and physical and emotional health. We urge Betsy DeVos to take seriously the CDC’s alarming findings about the risk factors faced by LGBT youth, and to work to ensure they are valued and celebrated for who they are. We urge her to maintain the 2016 Title IX guidance documents that protect transgender students. We urge her to address the appalling racial disparities in education. And we urge her to continue the work that the Department of Education has done to address sexual assault on college campuses by enforcing Title IX protections. These are serious responsibilities. We only hope Betsy DeVos is up to the task.” 

Senator Al Franken (D-Minn)

Senator Al Franken, one of DeVos' biggest critics and the man responsible for stumping her with a question about growth versus proficiency during her confirmation hearing, released the following statement today:

"Betsy DeVos has demonstrated that she is fundamentally unqualified to lead the Education Department, and it's a shame that Republicans voted to confirm one of their major donors instead of looking out for our children."

HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn)

HELP Committee chairman, former education secretary and Every Student Succeeds Act architect Lamar Alexander has been in support of DeVos' nomination since it was announced. He believes DeVos will help uphold Republican ideals, which are largely based in the fact that education decisions should be left up to local and state governments, not the federal government.

He posted this on his Twitter page today:

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

Press Secretary Spicer addressed DeVos' confirmation in a briefing today:

Betsy DeVos' Response

Last but not least, DeVos took to her Twitter account today to comment on today's confirmation:

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

2/7/2017

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