WASHINGTON (WISH) – Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly said Wednesday that he will vote against President Trump’s nominee for the Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
After reviewing her record, qualifications and Senate committee confirmation hearing, Senator Donnelly said he believes DeVos lacks the commitment to public education needed to lead the Department of Education.
Senator Donnelly released a video where he explained his reasoning for opposing DeVos:
Every Hoosier deserves access to a quality education – it’s a cornerstone of our democracy and prepares our students to enter the workforce, secure good-paying jobs and succeed. After reviewing her record, I share the concerns expressed by many Hoosier educators, students and families that Betsy DeVos lacks the commitment to public education needed to effectively lead the Department of Education. I am concerned she will not prioritize efforts that are important to Hoosier families, like: expanding access to early childhood education, improving our public schools, and empowering student borrowers and reducing federal student loan debt. While I will vote against her nomination, I will continue fighting for our students because ensuring they have access to good schools and teachers not only lays a solid foundation for our students to reach their potential, but also helps increase economic opportunity.”
DeVos is married to Dick DeVos, the heir to the Amway marketing fortune. She has spent more than two decades advocating for charter schools in her home state of Michigan as well as promoting conservative religious values. Charter schools have expanded in the United States over the past two decades from less than 2,000 schools to about 6,700 schools according to the National center for Education statistics. They are privately operated institutions and have more freedom to choose their own curriculum, staff and budget.
DeVos was asked questions regarding contributions to the Republican Party, her support of charter schools, her views on LGBT rights, sexual assault and other matters at her confirmation hearing last week. Democrats said they needed more information from her regarding finances and involvement in more than 100 companies she said she will divest from. The Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee delayed a vote on DeVos’ nomination until Jan. 31.
The education secretary pick said she would not seek to dismantle public schools despite concerns about her qualifications, political donations and advocating for charter schools and school choice by Democrats.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.