Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as the 11th education secretary after a controversial confirmation process. The 50-50 tie vote in the Senate led Vice President Mike Pence to cast the 51st “yea” vote.
The votes were cast along party lines with the exception of two “no” votes from republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. The vote to confirm came after a 24-hour democratic “talkathon” on the floor of the Senate in opposition of DeVos.
Betsy DeVos will be sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence at 5:30 PM today and will address staff at the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday at 2:00 PM, according to the White House.
During the confirmation process CEC advocates sent 27,751 letters to the Hill asking their Senators to ensure the nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education would uphold and enforce IDEA, not divert the use of public IDEA dollars to support private schools, and to guarantee the civil rights of all children and youth with disabilities and their families. CEC thanks the many advocates who supported children and youth with disabilities and their families and the delivery of special education and early intervention in public schools and programs across the nation.
In a statement released by CEC President Mikki Garcia she states, “Now is not the time to turn back the clock on over 6.7 million children and youth with disabilities. CEC will hold the U.S. Department of Education accountable to ensure that all children and youth are guaranteed a free appropriate public education.”