Two GOP senators say ‘no’ to DeVos
Two Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will vote “no” on confirming Betsy Devos as Education secretary, even though both voted for her in the education committee.
If all Democrats vote against DeVos, which is expected, the nominee would need to hold all the remaining Republican senators to end up in a 50-50 tie. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote.
“I’m concerned that Mrs. Devos’s lack of experience with public schools will make it difficult for her to fully understand, identify and assist with those challenges, particularly for our rural schools in states like Maine,” Sen. Collins said on the Senate floor.
The anti-DeVos campaign is targeting Nevada Sen. Dean Heller as a potential swing vote.
If confirmed, DeVos won’t be able to do much on her own, writes Alyson Klein in Ed Week.
The new Every Student Succeeds Act seeks to rein in the education secretary significantly — a fact that Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the committee, alluded to at the start of DeVos’ confirmation hearing. In fact, some civil rights advocates are far more worried about what DeVos wouldn’t do, especially when it comes to enforcing civil rights laws and the so-called “guardrails” in ESSA, or the parts aimed at improving low-performing schools and boosting the performance of historically overlooked groups of students.
DeVos could emulate Arne Duncan by using competitive grants to push her agenda, writes Klein. “But it wouldn’t be easy for her to push states and districts in significant new directions that local leaders wouldn’t want to go in.”