Though there have been many contentious and stressful Senate confirmation hearings in the last week, possibly the most frustrating one to watch has to be the hearing for Donald Trump’s secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.
Despite never having attended a public school herself – and sending her children to private schools as well – DeVos has been deemed by the Trump administration as qualified enough to head the nation’s education programs.
Unfortunately for Trump and DeVos, her confirmation hearing is the most disappointing so far. Facing questioning from many Senate members, Democrat and Republican, DeVos has shown a pitiful lack of knowledge when it comes to even the most basic tenets of educational law.
While being interviewed by Democratic Senator from New Hampshire Maggie Hassan, it quickly became clear that DeVos was not aware of the existence of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – a part of federal Civil Rights law.
Instead, DeVos argued that the requirements for schools to provide adequate accommodations to students with disabilities should be a “state’s rights” issue. In other words, if Alabama decides it doesn’t want to cater to children with disabilities, they will receive sub-par education, or even none at all.
That’s not what we agreed to in this nation, and we sure as hell won’t agree to DeVos.
Later, DeVos was asked some relatively simple questions by Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Kaine asked her whether she felt that all schools should have to meet the same benchmarks, adhere to the same standards, and provide the same disability care. This should have been a simple section of the interrogation for DeVos, and said “yes,” to each question. Instead, she refused to answer each one, leaving no real question as to where she stood.
Clearly, DeVos feels that charter and private schools are being held back by public school – or else that students who attend public school do not deserve the same education – and she refused to answer a single of Kaine’s questions. After all, elsewhere in the hearing, DeVos said that 90 percent of public schools are a “dead end.” Anyone who has ever been within an arm’s length of a public school would know that that is far from the truth.
Simply, this woman is unqualified in any way, and not only is she unqualified, but she is willfully opposed to some of the most basic tenets of providing education to students in America. Under her care, the Department of Education would and will fail students to a stunning degree.
Watch DeVos with Hassan:
Stunning: Maggie Hassan (who has a disabled son) realizes that DeVos doesn’t know the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act exists. pic.twitter.com/ht2dK9iqL8
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) January 18, 2017
And with Kaine:
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 18, 2017