DeVos is Confirmed

The Senate today approved Betsy DeVos as the next secretary of education when Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in her favor. The vote by a vice president to break a deadlock over a cabinet official was a first in U.S. history.  Despite the opposition, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted to advance her nomination to the full Senate. The New York Times posted the following:

“The 51-to-50 vote elevates Ms. DeVos — a wealthy donor from Michigan who has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system — to be steward of the nation’s schools. Two Republicans voted against Ms. DeVos’s confirmation, a sign that some members of President Trump’s party are willing to go against him, possibly foreshadowing difficulty on some of the president’s more contentious legislative priorities.”

The Fight Continues

 The New York Times reports that Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he is “100 percent confident” that Betsy DeVos “will be the next secretary of education.” But media reporting shows that won’t happen without a fight.  USA Today quoted Sen. Susan Collins as saying that DeVos’ “concentration on charter schools and vouchers … raises the question about whether or not she fully appreciates that the secretary of education’s primary focus must be on helping states and communities … strengthen our public schools.” The Wall Street Journal reported that Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she will vote against DeVos because thousands of her constituents in Alaska have contacted her to express concerns that are similar to her own. The Washington Times said that with the GOP holding a 52-48 majority in the Senate, votes against DeVos by Collins and Murkowski mean “it’s unlikely Mrs. DeVos will get more than 50 votes’ support.” That would mean that Vice President Pence could cast a tie-breaking vote.

 

Michelle Obama: “Lead by example with hope.”

“So don’t be afraid. You hear me? Young people, don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined.”

These were the words of Michelle Obama, as she spoke from the White House on Jan. 6, reflecting on her time as First Lady. Her speech was part of a ceremony for educators during which she honored the nation’s 2017 School Counselor of the Year.  She said,“Lead by example with hope, never fear.”

The Washington Post reported: “Obama thanked teachers and advocates “all across this nation who get up every day and work their hearts out to lift up our young people. I am so grateful to all of you for your passion and your dedication and all the hard work on behalf of the next generation, and I can think of no better way to end my time as first lady than celebrating with all of you, so I want to close today by simply saying ‘thank you.’”