The Justice Center joins coalition of civil rights groups in opposition to Devos’ nomination for Secretary of Education
RALEIGH (January 30, 2017) — The committee vote on President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is expected to take place tomorrow, January 31st. Ms. DeVos’ confirmation hearing demonstrated her lack of preparedness and qualification for the position to which she was nominated. The Justice Center joins a coalition of civil rights organizations under the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights that oppose Ms. DeVos’ confirmation.
The Secretary of Education’s role as the enforcer of education and civil rights laws is central to advancing our shared vision of an inclusive and diverse system of high-quality public education that enables every student to live up to their potential. DeVos has demonstrated no previous commitment to ensuring equal educational opportunity in schools.
DeVos has never been an educator or worked directly with children and families in public schools; led a school, district or state agency tasked with educating students; or even been a public school parent or student. She has exclusively focused on privatization instead of considering important public school values such as equity, quality, efficiency, transparency, and accountability. During the hearing DeVos’ lack of experience was clear, as she expressed unwarranted and total deference to state flexibility in areas that are solely within the Department of Education’s purview, such as federal civil rights laws like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
DeVos failed to understand basic education policy debates such as the fundamental role of growth versus proficiency in school accountability systems. Her lack of any interest in or concern over accountability for all schools receiving federal funds demonstrated her overall lack of understanding of the role accountability systems play in student outcomes and her total disconnect to public education — a system she previously described as a ‘dead end,’ but one where 90 percent of all children in this nation attend.
No more important goal exists in any society than the education and care of its children. In our country and our state, public education is the institution that has bonded our people together as one nation under one flag with a common set of values. Education is a bipartisan issue that crosses party lines. Unfortunately, this nominee fails to understand this pivotal and most basic premise of the American education system and of democracy itself.