Betsy DeVos Bombs in Education Sec. Confirmation Hearings

Betsy DeVos might want to do a little homework before she next talks to the Senate.

Holy crap, Betsy DeVos! President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education had her first Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday evening, and it did not go well was an absolute train wreck.

As the Washington Post reports (as well as Mother Jones, Slate, and a number of other media outlets), DeVos might be the most ill-prepared cabinet nominee we’ve seen in quite some time:

At her contentious confirmation hearing as Donald Trump’s nominee to be education secretary on Tuesday, Betsy DeVos was asked a question by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) about an important education debate involving how student progress should be measured. The query essentially rendered her speechless as she appeared not to know how to answer. When Franken told her he was upset she didn’t understand it, she did not protest.

That was just one of several moments during the hearing in which DeVos either displayed a lack of knowledge about education fundamentals or refused to answer questions that Democratic members of the Senate Education Committee believe are critical to her fitness for the job.

When Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) asked her whether she would agree that guns don’t belong in schools, she said: “I will refer back to Sen. [Mike] Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.”

Guns in schools protect kids from grizzly bears? Amazingly, this wasn’t the worst comment DeVos made on Tuesday. DeVos seemed completely unfamiliar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; she declined to agree with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) that all schools that receive public federal funds should be held to the same standards of accountability; she botched a question about gainful employment regulations; and she seemed clueless about the debate over measuring student growth through test scores, which seems like a pretty obvious topic for discussion.

DeVos didn’t even have an answer for Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) when he asked her about lessons learned from failures in trying to implement public charter schools in Detroit (DeVos is a Michigan native who was a primary architect of Detroit’s charter schools plan). This answer to this question should have been right in her wheelhouse, but instead DeVos tried to respond to Bennet by outlining a history of Detroit.

Ladies and gentlemen, your nominee for Secretary of Education!

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    How dare they ask her tough questions.  Detroit is a mess and Betsy worked to fix it by doing stuff.  She didn't fail because her stuff doesn't fail.  She was trying to bring God's Kingdom to Detroit.  She wants to bring God's Kingdom to America and if you aren't a Christian, you're SOL.  I am sure Moddy, AC and Powerful Pear totally agree with me!!!  Can I get an AMEN?!?!?!?!

  2. Pseudonymous says:

    She may also have lied.

    Newly elected Democratic senator Margaret Hassan pressed DeVos on these claims. She asked DeVos directly if she was on the board of her mother’s foundation during the period in which large donations were made to Focus on the Family. DeVos said that she was not on the foundation’s board.

    When I heard that, I pulled up the 990 tax documents of the Prince Foundation, which I investigated for my book “Blackwater.” Betsy DeVos was clearly listed as a vice president of the foundation’s board, along with her brother Erik [the head of Blackwater], for many years, at least until 2014. DeVos was a vice president during the precise period Hassan was referring to. I then began a tweet storm about this lie:

  3. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Devos is absolutely not qualified for this post. She doesn't fricking understand how Federal special education law (IDEA) works! She has no experience teaching, administrating, and her own kids have never gone to public school. She calls public school a "dead end".

    So Devos' nomination is going to the Senate floor. Chairman Lamar Alexander slammed it through the education committee, even though the Office of Government Ethics Devos has not finished vetting her huge wealth and many apparent conflicts of interest.

    Once again, please call, write, or visit your Senators and beg them to vote no on Devos' nomination.

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