On Senate Floor, Shaheen Reads Letters from Granite State Parents and Educators Who Oppose Betsy DeVos’ NominationFebruary 06, 2017
**SHAHEEN: “Because Betsy DeVos does not understand these basic truths about education in America, because she is driven by an ideological hostility to our public schools, she is the wrong person to serve as our Secretary of Education.”
**Shaheen’s office has received more than 4,000 letters and emails, nearly all opposing DeVos, and 1,405 calls in opposition to her nomination**
(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor today in opposition of President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. “I value public schools as one of our nation’s bedrock civic and democratic institutions,” Shaheen said. “[Public schools] provide the best opportunity for kids from all walks of life to get a quality education. And they pass on to each new generation – including children of immigrants – America’s shared ideals and values. Regrettably, after careful study of Ms. DeVos’s record as an activist, I have concluded that she does not agree with this view of our public schools.”
“Given her past record, it makes no sense to put Ms. DeVos in charge of the Department of Education unless the aim is to devalue, defund, and perhaps eventually destroy our public schools,” Shaheen stated. “And I think that is unacceptable.”
On the Senate floor, Shaheen looked back on her own education and how she benefitted from public schools spanning grade school to higher education. She also cited her background as a public school teacher in Mississippi and New Hampshire, as well as her experience both as a parent and as New Hampshire’s governor.
Shaheen drew attention to the heightened interest among constituents on DeVos’ nomination, saying her “office has been inundated with letters, emails, and phone calls strongly opposing the DeVos nomination.” Shaheen’s office has received more than 4,000 letters and emails from Granite Staters, and almost all of them oppose this nomination, in addition to 1,405 calls in opposition, with only three phone calls in support.
Shaheen read letters from Granite State educators, parents and concerned constituents that her office received opposing Ms. DeVos’ nomination. Megan, a social studies teacher, wrote: “Mrs. DeVos clearly lacks even a basic understanding of federal education policy, laws, and instructional practices. She has no relevant experience. There is just no way I would ever be certified to instruct students in New Hampshire if I lacked as much knowledge and experience in my field. But she gets to be the nation’s chief educator. How is this good for kids?”
Referencing Ms. DeVos’ unawareness of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Shaheen read a letter from a parent in Western New Hampshire who wrote, “As the parent of a daughter with Down syndrome, I fear for the future of IDEA if DeVos is in charge.”
“What Ms. DeVos fails to understand is that quality education has nothing to do with whether a school is public or private,” concluded Shaheen. “What counts are high-quality teachers, support from parents and communities, facilities where kids can enjoy learning and be safe, rigorous academic standards, and the resources to make sure that children can get the learning that they need, including individualized assistance to kids with special needs. What counts is the political and budgetary commitment to create high-quality schools in every neighborhood, regardless of zip code.”
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