Senate divided over DeVos nomination; EL School board VP reacts

Jan 17, 2017

Republicans and Democrats split over today's Betsy DeVos hearings. Meanwhile, one Capital Region school board leader responds to the Secretary of Education nominee's views.

U.S. Senators were opposed over ­President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education at her confirmation hearing tonight. Democrats characterized DeVos as unfit for the job while Republicans defended her as an effective reformer with new ideas.

One area public schools leader is concerned over the possibility of DeVos as Education Secretary.  Erin Graham is Vice President of the East Lansing School Board and says she is concerned that DeVos "didn't know about some of the basic parts of education and policy matters."

While Erin Graham's reservations over DeVos were shared by some Senate committee members, others spoke in support of the Michigan billionaire.

“Betsy DeVos, in my opinion, is on our children’s side,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “She’s devoted her life to helping mainly low-income children have access to better schools.”

But Graham's apprehension comes from her own observations in the Great Lakes State. A DeVos Senate approval might result in "taking money out of the public school system" said Graham. "We've seen that happen in Detroit and other parts of Michigan. Undoing that system and privatizing that system is deeply concerning."

The Senate vote is scheduled for January 24th.