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Published On: Fri, Jan 20th, 2017

Betsy DeVos ‘Parents no longer believe that a one-size-fits-all model of learning’ and want choice

Betsy DeVos endured her US Senate hearing to join the Trump cabinet, professing her philosophy of choice and support the expansion of public charter schools and private school vouchers.

DeVos is set to run the Education Department and her opening remarks set the tone for the hearings.

“Parents no longer believe that a one-size-fits-all model of learning meets the needs of every child,” she said. “And they know other options exist, whether magnet, virtual, charter, home, faith-based or any other combination.”

The problem, say DeVos’ critics, is her faith in the free market, and that she thinks parents should be able to use public-school dollars to pay for alternatives outside the system.

photo Kmccoy

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. asked: “Can you commit to us tonight that you will not work to privatize public schools or cut a single penny from public education?”

DeVos: “Senator, thanks for that question. I look forward, if confirmed, to working with you to talk about how we address the needs of all parents and all students. And we acknowledge today that not all schools are working for the students that are assigned to them. And I’m hopeful that we can work together to find common ground and ways that we can solve those issues and empower parents to make choices on behalf of their children that are right for them.”

Murray: “I take that as not being willing to commit to not privatizing public schools or cutting money from education.”

DeVos: “I guess I wouldn’t characterize it in that way.”

Murray: “Well,” she said, laughing, “okay.”

Congress passed a big, bipartisan education law just a year ago, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, pointed out during the hearing, vouchers didn’t make the cut.

Alexander is a strong supporter of DeVos, and began the hearing by saying he believes she is “on our childrens’ side.”

Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who introduced her and swung back at teachers unions and others who oppose her, in part, because the billionaire has never taught in, managed or attended a public school.

In Lieberman’s words, it’s a positive that she’s not part of the “education establishment.”

“Honestly, I believe that today that’s one of the most important qualifications you could have for this job,” he said.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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