PHILADELPHIA ― Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a scathing statement Thursday that he plans to vote against President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Education Department.
Trump’s nominee, Betsy DeVos, floundered during her confirmation hearing last week as Democrats took turns questioning her ability to lead the department. DeVos, a billionaire from a powerful Republican family in Michigan, has been dedicated to funneling money to “school choice” efforts ― and away from public schools.
“Betsy DeVos would single-handedly decimate our public education system if she were confirmed,” Schumer said. “Her plan to privatize education would deprive students from a good public education, while helping students from wealthy families get another leg up.”
Earlier this week, Democrats urged Republicans to schedule a second hearing for them to ask DeVos more questions now that all of her paperwork has been released by the Office of Government Ethics. It’s unlikely to happen, but the committee vote on her nomination was postponed until the end of the month.
“The president’s decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country,” Schumer said. “Public education has lifted millions out of poverty, has put millions in good paying jobs, and has been the launching pad for people who went on to cure disease and to create inventions that have changed our society for the better.”
Schumer criticized DeVos’ refusal to divest from companies she holds a substantial stake in, including one that uses biofeedback technology to help improve children’s performance in school.
“[It’s] all the proof one needs to know that she is in this for herself, and not for students,” he said. “I will vote no, and I will do it proudly.”
DeVos is one of the nominees Democrats have zeroed in on, hoping that the controversy surrounding her will convince enough Republicans to vote to block the appointment. So far, no Republicans have said they will.
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