Betsy DeVos

White House Shocked at Education Secretary’s Interviews

“White House officials were alarmed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ struggle to answer basic questions about the nation’s schools and failure to defend the administration’s newly proposed school safety measures during a tour of television interviews Sunday and Monday,” CNN reports.

“Though DeVos was sworn in to her Cabinet position 13 months ago, she stumbled her way through a pointed 60 Minutes interview with CBS’ Lesley Stahl Sunday night and was unable to defend her belief that public schools can perform better when funding is diverted to the expansion of public charter schools and private school vouchers. At one point, she admitted she hasn’t ‘intentionally’ visited underperforming schools.”

Exchange of the Day

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke with Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes:

STAHL: Why have you become, people say, the most hated Cabinet secretary?

DEVOS: I’m not so sure exactly how that happened. But I think there are a lot of really powerful forces allied against change.

STAHL: Does it hurt?

DEVOS: Sometimes it does. Sometimes it does. Again, I think, I think …

STAHL: Do you ever say …

DEVOS:  I’m more misunderstood than anything.

How DeVos Softened Her Message on School Choice

Politico: “A year into her tenure as President Donald Trump’s Education secretary, Betsy DeVos generally steers clear of the words, ‘school choice,’ a phrase she once used often that’s freighted with racial, demographic and religious implications. Instead, she opts for gentler terms such as ‘innovation’ and ‘blended learning,’ and speaks of coming together and ‘finding solutions.’ DeVos has by no means backed off her push to fulfill Trump’s promise to inject $20 billion into expanded private education options for kids.”

“But one of the most divisive figures in Trump’s Cabinet … has figured out how to market that effort differently. Behind the scenes, DeVos met with Frank Luntz, one of the top Republican messaging experts, to figure out how to talk about conservative educational policies without sparking protests from teachers and liberals.”

Warren Turns Her Fire on DeVos

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (R-MA) “is setting her sights on Betsy DeVos, the wealthy Republican donor who has become a lightning rod for the liberal grassroots as President Trump’s secretary of Education,” The Hill reports.

“Warren on Wednesday announced the launch of DeVos Watch, a coordinated effort to scrutinize the secretary’s handling of the $1 trillion federal student loan program and her oversight of student loan servicers, among other issues.”

Security for Betsy DeVos Costs $1 Million a Month

“The U.S Marshals Service is providing unprecedented protective detail to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the added security will be costing her agency almost $1 million per month,” NBC News reports.

“The stepped up security began in February, following a threat assessment ordered by the U.S. Attorney General, the marshals service said. The agency only said it determined a threat to her safety exists, and did not elaborate.”

DeVos Gets Beefed Up Security

“The U.S. Marshals Service has taken the unusual step of providing a protective detail to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who emerged from a contentious nomination process as a lightening rod of controversy,” Politico reports.

“While security for top government officials varies across agencies, the Marshals Service is not currently protecting any other Cabinet member.”

DeVos Confirmed As Education Secretary

“The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos on Tuesday as education secretary, approving the embattled nominee only with the help of a historic tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence,” the New York Times reports.

“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.”

DeVos Opposition Snowballs Into an Avalanche

Politico: “Adversaries of Betsy DeVos are mounting a furious last-minute bid to sink her nomination for Education secretary, with tactics that include a ‘tie-breaker telethon’ in Alaska, a flood of emails to U.S. senators and celebrity appeals to millions of Twitter followers. Teachers unions and a ragtag assemblage of other opponents are bombarding congressional offices with tens of thousands of phone calls and more than 1 million emails — a massive but almost certainly doomed effort to vanquish one of President Donald Trump’s most controversial Cabinet picks.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said that the last three days had “been the busiest in Capitol switchboard history” by “almost double.”

DeVos Nomination Could Be In Trouble

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) both said that they will not support Betsy DeVos to be President Trump’s Education secretary pick, The Hill reports.

“If all of the Senate’s Democrats vote against DeVos, she would have 50 votes if the remaining Republicans backed her — with Vice President Mike Pence potentially breaking the tie. No Democrats have backed DeVos.”

Politico: “Republican leaders had been planning to bring either DeVos or Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions to the floor for a confirmation vote later this week. If Sessions is confirmed, Republicans may need to swear in a new senator from Alabama in order to be able to confirm DeVos.”

Trump Nominee May Have Plagiarized Responses

“President Trump’s nominee for education secretary, in written responses to questions from senators, appears to have used several sentences and phrases from other sources without attribution — including from a top Obama administration civil rights official,” the Washington Post reports.

“The responses from nominee Betsy DeVos were submitted Monday to the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is voting Tuesday morning on her confirmation.”

DeVos Confirmation Hearing Delayed

“The confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s Education secretary pick, has been pushed back by almost a week,” Politico reports.

“The move comes after Democrats, including Murray, had called for DeVos’ confirmation hearing to be delayed because the Office of Government Ethics has not finished its ethics review of the billionaire education activist’s finances. Democrats argued that the hearing should not be held until DeVos’ ethics and financial disclosure paperwork is finalized.”

Trump Picks DeVos as Education Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump said he intends to appoint GOP mega donor and philanthropist Betsy DeVos to be his education secretary, “putting an ardent supporter of school choice in charge of the nation’s education policy,” the Detroit News reports.

“DeVos, 58, is seen as a national leader in the school choice movement, which she has called an attempt to ’empower’ parents to find good schools for their children, whether they be traditional public schools in other neighborhoods, charter schools, virtual schools or private institutions.”