State-level Elected Officials Write Letter of Support for DeVos the Same Day As Her Awful Hearing
In a letter dated January 17, 2017, 137 state-level Republicans wrote to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair, Lamar Alexander (also a Republican), in support of having Michigan billionaire and former Michigan Republican Party chair and Republican candidate financial supporter, Betsy DeVos, as the next US secretary of education.
This crew wasted no time, given that DeVos’ nomination hearing was scheduled for 5 p.m. on January 17, 2017 (same day as the letter was dated) and lasted 3 1/2 hours.
The letter boasts signatures “represent[ing] elected state offices from all 50 states”; thus, not a single state-level department of education chief is among the entire bunch.
What is also noteworthy is that the letter avoids using the term “Republican” even though all 137 are Republicans. (I checked for any independents. None.)
These “elected leaders” require campaign funding, and DeVos is a billionaire Republican funder. I’m sure this is just coincidence.
Even though the letter notes that “education is critical,” it seems education not critical enough to include support from anyone whose professional career is currently connected to the classroom.
A career in any classroom.
After all, DeVos wants private schools to accept public school students. I wonder how the private schools feel about that.
This support from outside of (above?) the classroom fits perfectly with the likes of Betsy DeVos as US ed sec: Not only does she possess no experience in working with any traditional public school; in her 3 1/2 hours of questioning before the Senate HELP Committee, DeVos definitively and repeatedly established her ignorance of federal education law, process, and even education terminology.
The state-level Republican letter carries no real weight; it is not as though Alexander is having second thoughts about “dragging” DeVos across the confirmation finish line; it is not as though these state-level Republicans are necessary to influence Senate HELP Republicans undecided about DeVos (Alexander apparently considers the DeVos confirmation a done deal), and it is not as though these state-level Republicans can vote on DeVos directly. However, what the letter does is it provides GOP advertisement fodder for (wait for it) “state-level support” for DeVos.
The timing of the letter is also a marvelous testament for blind support of what is little more than a GOP falling-in-line for a GOP billionaire known to dole out money to GOP candidates, for the letter was composed before DeVos’ ethics paperwork was made public. (One can read that paperwork here: devos-elisabeth-p-final278 and devos-elisabeth-p-finalea.)
Below is the text of the letter as well as a link to the names of the 137 state-level Republican signators.
They want DeVos.
January 17, 2017
The Honorable Lamar Alexander
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
428 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Alexander,
As one of the most critical issues impacting the future of our nation, we must have a Secretary of Education committed to the needs of all of our nation’s children. Betsy DeVos has made it her life’s mission to find, support and push for education solutions in her home state of Michigan and across the country. She is an advocate and ally for all children, and we write to you today to express our support for her nomination to this important position as her confirmation hearing approaches.
We represent elected state offices from all 50 states, and as such, we each know the impact of an overgrown federal government reaching into the states to push a one-size-fits all approach to education. No two states, localities or school districts are the same, nor are the needs of the children who reside there. Betsy DeVos understands this distinction and for years has embraced a variety of education solutions to meet this need.
Her support for an all-of-the-above approach to K-12 education – from charter schools, to public, private and online education – defines the school choice movement that has helped countless children across many of our states. By advancing these innovative solutions from the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos will put children first and empower not only states to lead the way in making critical education decisions, but also empower parents to choose what type of education is best for their children.
Together we applaud President-elect Donald Trump for selecting Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education nominee. We encourage the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to ensure a swift confirmation process so that we together can get to work making classrooms a place for all children to thrive.
To read the 137 Republican signtors, click here.