Today the Senate HELP Committee voted to advance out of committee the nomination of Betsy DeVos as President Trump’s Education Secretary on a 12-11 vote, along party lines.
As depicted in CEC’s infographic on mobilizing special educators, over the last week 7,074 CEC advocates sent 22,391 letters to their members of Congress. Your advocacy worked! Thank you for keeping the pressure on. It was clear from the comments made today by both republicans and democrats that CEC’s voice was heard. Republican Senators Isakson (R-GA), Collins (R-ME), and Murkowski (R-AK) all spoke of the importance and value of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the responsibility the U.S. Secretary of Education has in its implementation, accountability and enforcement. Both Collins and Murkowski voted to report the DeVos nomination to the full Senate but continued to voice their concerns on a number of issues including special education stating, that at this time they were not sure how they would vote on the Senate floor.
Other issues raised by the democrats on the Committee included concerns about her Public Financial Disclosure Report, the report by the Office of Government Ethics, and the lack of substance and commitment to public education in her answers to questions posed by members of the HELP Committee. Democratic Senators Murphy (D-CT), Kaine (D-VA) and Hassan (D-NH) all expressed concern about DeVos’ lack of assurance that she will enforce all provisions of IDEA and not divert the use of public IDEA dollars to support private schools and guarantee the civil rights of all children and youth with disabilities.
CEC could not agree more with Senators Murphy, Kaine and Hassan!
Most republicans on the HELP Committee aligned with DeVos’ passion and plan to provide choice to families through private and charter schools.
So what happens next? The confirmation vote for DeVos will now move to the full Senate and has yet to be scheduled. Stay tuned to CEC’s Policy Insider Blog for additional breaking news and strategies for CEC’s continued advocacy.