Editorial: DeVos confirmation shows overwhelming power of partisanship



Education Secretary Betsy DeVos looks on in the Vice President Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House on Feb. 7, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Senate confirmed wealthy Republican donor and grizzly bear-fearer Betsy DeVos on Wednesday as the new Secretary of Education.

Fifty senators voted to confirm DeVos, and 50 voted against it. Thus, Vice President Mike Pence had to cast a historic tie-breaking vote to officially confirm her position.

So who is the woman who will run the nation’s public school system?

DeVos is an active member of the Republican Party, and her family is one of the richest in the country. She has never attended a day of public school in her life, has never held an elected office before and has never worked in education.

DeVos has, however, spent years advocating for privatizing schools and the school voucher program. She also believes that her work in education can “advance God’s kingdom.”

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    Clearly, DeVos missed some lessons on the separation of church and state at the private Christian schools she attended.

    DeVos has demonstrated no belief in the public education system she now runs. Her confirmation is an insult to publicly educated students, particularly for students at one of the nation’s elite public universities such as ours.

    Besides her lack of experience, she fumbled through her confirmation hearing, pledging to back President Donald Trump on his pledge to end gun-free school zones, citing grizzlies as a potential reason to carry guns in schools.

    Because we’ve all run into grizzlies on our walks across the Main Quad, haven’t we? 

    Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were the only conservatives with the courage to make the educated decision and vote no to her confirmation.

    The other 50 Republican senators and Pence likely endangered the future of public school students by confirming her position.

    It’s a disheartening affront to those who can’t afford private school. Instead of making the kids who need help the most a priority, Republican senators showed their partisanship — and where their deep pockets come from — by voting yes.

    Trump said during his campaign that he wanted to “drain the swamp” — his nominations, particularly DeVos, and the Senate’s confirmations prove otherwise.