Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was physically blocked by protesters from entering Jefferson Academy in Washington, D.C., WJLA-TV reports.
“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.”
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.”
“The U.S. Senate will vote early next week on confirming President Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos,” Reuters reports.
“Early on Friday morning, the Senate voted 52 to 48 on a procedural move to pave the way to the final confirmation vote, which could come as early as Monday.”
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.”
“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.”
A new federal report finds that “one of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results,” the Washington Post reports.
“Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.”
The findings were published just hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is proposing to offer free tuition at New York public colleges to eligible residents, the AP reports.
“Cuomo’s plan would provide free tuition to a State University of New York or City University of New York college, including two-year community colleges, for residents whose families earn less than $125,000.”
Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, told the Associated Press that President-elect Donald Trump offered him the job of Secretary of Education last week during a meeting in New York.
He said he declined the job but that Trump wanted a four- to six-year commitment and said he couldn’t leave Liberty for more than two years.
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.”
During oral arguments in a pivotal affirmative action case, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that African American students might belong at less rigorous schools than their white peers, Mother Jones reports.
Said Scalia: “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, one of the longest-serving members of President Obama’s cabinet, will step down in December, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Obama has tapped John King Jr., a senior official at the Education Department, to run the department for the remainder of his administration.
“If I were, not president, but if I were king of America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges, where they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us.'”
— Gov. John Kasich, quoted by the Columbus Dispatch.
“It’s unbelievable to me that liberals, that President Obama, of course he sends his children to private school, as did Al Gore, and Bill Clinton and every other celebrated liberal. They just don’t want to let those idiot inner city kids that they purport to be so supportive of… they don’t want to give them the same opportunity their own kids have. It’s disgraceful.”
— Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), quoted by the Washington Post.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “took the Department of Education to task on Wednesday for what she called a lack of transparency and failure to protect students from dangerous student loan servicers and for-profit colleges,” the New York Times reports.
“Warren called for external checks to be placed on the department, including moving the student loan complaint system from the department to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and granting borrowers the right to take legal action against loan contractors.”
Gov. Chris Christie (R) “proposed dropping national Common Core education standards he once supported but have since become a lighting rod issue for Republican voters,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.
Christie declared Common Core is “simply not working” and said he wants to develop a state-based group to develop “new standards right here in New Jersey, not 200 miles away on the banks of the Potomac River.”
“Last summer, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida asked the U.S. Department of Education to ‘demonstrate leniency’ toward Corinthian Colleges by permitting the wealthy for-profit company to continue accessing millions of dollars in federal financial aid while it was cooperating with a federal investigation,” Bloomberg reports.
“Ten months later, the company shuttered its remaining 28 campuses, instantly displacing some 16,000 students just days after it was fined $30 million by the Department of Education for a scheme involving “confirmed cases of misrepresentation of job placement rates” for as many as 947 students. The decision to close shop came after years of federal and state investigations into the company.”
New York Times: “The last time she ran for president, Hillary Clinton did not have to take a position on the Common Core, teacher evaluations or Race to the Top… Now, as she prepares for a likely second run at the White House, Mrs. Clinton — who largely avoided domestic policy when she was secretary of state — is re-entering the fray like a Rip Van Winkle for whom the terrain on education standards has shifted markedly, with deep new fissures opened up in the Democratic Party.”