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.
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!