Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Why Betsy DeVos is the most polarizing education secretary nominee ever - The Washington Post

Why Betsy DeVos is the most polarizing education secretary nominee ever - The Washington Post:

Why Betsy DeVos is the most polarizing education secretary nominee ever



President Barack Obama had two education secretaries who were highly divisive in the education world. In fact, the man who ran Obama’s Education Department for seven years, Arne Duncan, became so controversial that members of two teachers unions — long supporters of Democrats — approved resolutions against him in 2014.  Duncan’s successor, John King, faced the closest confirmation vote, in March 2016, on the Senate floor of any education secretary nominee up to that time.
But Betsy DeVos, the Michigan billionaire chosen by President Trump to be education secretary, brings a whole new dimension to the discussion of polarizing figures in education leadership.
DeVos is clearly the most controversial education nominee in the history of the nearly 40-year-old Education Department. While the Senate education committee on Tuesday sent her nomination to the full Senate on a party-line vote, a few Republican senators said they are not certain if they will support her on the Senate floor. Democrats say they have 48 solid votes against her, but they need 51 to defeat the nomination.
No education secretary nominee before her was the target of such protests, mass email campaigns, petitions and impassioned denunciations at a Senate confirmation hearing. Supporters have countered with digital ads saying, “Confirm Betsy DeVos.”
No education secretary nominee was opposed by the ranking member of the Senate education panel before Tuesday, when Democratic Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) voted against DeVos. And Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader in the Senate, has promised to vote against DeVos when her nomination comes to the floor.
For the record, this is how the Senate votes went for previous education secretary nominees:
  • Shirley Hufstedler under President Jimmy Carter — 81-2
  • Terrel Bell under President Ronald Reagan — 90-2
  • William Bennett under Reagan — 93-0
  • Lauro Cavazos Jr. under Reagan — 94-0
  • Lamar Alexander under President George H.W. Bush — confirmed by voice vote.
  • Richard Riley under President Bill Clinton — confirmed by unanimous consent
  • Rod Paige under President George W. Bush — confirmed by voice vote
  • Margaret Spellings under George W. Bush — confirmed by voice vote
  • Arne Duncan under President Barack Obama — confirmed by voice vote
  • John King under Obama — confirmed 49-40.
King’s vote was the deepest split ever, a reflection of how angry Senate Republicans were at the Obama administration for using unprecedented federal power to make and implement Why Betsy DeVos is the most polarizing education secretary nominee ever - The Washington Post:

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