Betsy DeVos confirmed as Education Secretary
�I can tell you, my vote for Betsy DeVos was the easiest vote I ever cast,� Pence said.
With the historic tie-breaking vice-presidential vote, Betsy DeVos has won the confirmation as Education Secretary on Tuesday amid opposition.
Even though DeVos won the vote, she was opposed by half the senate, she faced criticism, even ridicule for lack of experience and confusion during her confirmation hearing. It was only Vice President Mike Pence’s vote which got her the confirmation.
DeVos was sworn in hours after Pence's vote, who told her,“I wasn’t just voting for you. Having seen your devotion to improving the quality of education for some of our most vulnerable children across the nation for so many years, I was also casting a vote for America’s children.”
“I can tell you, my vote for Betsy DeVos was the easiest vote I ever cast,” Pence said.
In her statement, DeVos promised to be “a tireless advocate for all students.” “Partnering with students, parents, educators, state and local leaders, Congress and all stakeholders, we will improve education options and outcomes across America,” she said.
Earlier, she said some schools should have guns because of the threat of grizzly bears. And there has been scathing opposition from teachers unions and civil rights activists over her support of charter schools and her conservative religious ideology.
President Donald Trump accused Democrats of seeking to torpedo education progress. In a tweet before the vote, he wrote, “Betsy DeVos is a reformer, and she is going to be a great Education Sec. for our kids!” Notably, two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Democrats in a marathon effort to derail the nomination of the wealthy Republican donor.
In her role of responsibility, DeVos is in charge of implementing laws affecting the nation’s public schools with no direct experience with traditional public schools.She also will have to address several hot-button issues in higher education, such as rising tuition costs, growing student debt and the troubled for-profit colleges, many of which have closed down, leaving students with huge loans and without a good education or job prospects.
Her opponents noted that she has no experience running public schools, nor has she attended one or sent her children to one. Protesters gathered outside the Capitol, including one person in a grizzly bear costume to ridicule DeVos. Democrats and labor unions vigorously fought the nomination, suggesting that DeVos would defund traditional public schools by diverting taxpayers’ money to charter and private institutions.
"President Trump’s swamp got a new billionaire today,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement. “Millions of teachers, parents and students could not have made their opposition to Betsy DeVos’ confirmation any clearer _ they do not want someone whose only education experience is dismantling public schools.”
DeVos supporters, however, saw her confirmation as an occasion to breathe new life into a troubled American school system and a chance to shift power from Washington to the local level.
In addition to DeVos, Republicans hope to confirm a series of other divisive nominees this week: Alabama Republican Sen Jeff Sessions as attorney general, GOP Rep Tom Price of Georgia as health secretary and financier Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary.