WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement before the U.S. Senate’s final vote on Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos:
“I know firsthand the powerful difference that a good public education makes. When I was growing up, my father took me to the doors of the schoolhouse and told me that, here in America, if I went through those doors and worked hard, I could do just about anything. The fact that, as the son of a mechanic, I was able to go to school and believe that I would have roughly the same opportunities as the son of a CEO says everything about the importance of our public education system and how central it is to who we are as a nation.
“Unfortunately, Betsy DeVos completely lacks knowledge, experience or appreciation of the critical roles that public schools play in America. She’s never attended a public school; she’s never worked in public schools; she didn’t send her children to public schools; I don’t know if she’s ever even volunteered at a public school. Her ignorance about public schools was on spectacular display in her nomination hearing. She didn’t know that federal law requires public schools to provide equal opportunity to students with disabilities. She didn’t know how tests were used to measure growth or proficiency. And furthermore, she has maintained an absolute disdain for accountability in private schools, despite the abysmal record of many private schools in her home state of Michigan.
“I will vote against Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary because America needs a Secretary who will fight to improve public schools, not a Secretary dedicated to destroying them.”
Video of Sen. Merkley speaking about DeVos’ nomination on the floor earlier this morning is available here.