CNY Solidarity Coalition

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Fact Sheet: Betsy DeVos

Unacceptable: Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

Her appointment threatens the success of public schools nationwide

President Donald Trump has announced his intention to nominate Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, a cabinet-level position which requires confirmation by the US Senate. This process began with hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on January 17 and will continue with a committee vote and then a full-Senate vote sometime after Trump’s inauguration.

What does the Secretary of Education do?

The role of the Secretary is to oversee the Department of Education, whose mission is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access” (department website). The Secretary also advises the president on important matters regarding the promotion of student achievement and access to education. The Education Department has the third largest budget (after Defense and Health and Human Services), and its leader has the power to affect the lives of millions of children, families, and teachers across the country.

Why is DeVos unacceptable?

  • Despite promising to “drain the swamp,” Trump has nominated the wealthiest Cabinet in history, including billionaire Betsy DeVos.
  • DeVos is a radical anti-public-school activist who has proposed transferring billions of dollars in federal funding from public to for-profit, private, and religious schools.
  • She has long pursued an anti-union agenda, blaming hard-working teachers for the shortcomings of our educational system. AFT President Randi Weingarten describes DeVos as “the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education. In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.”
  • DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan. Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless and extreme ideology on the nation.
  • At her confirmation hearings in January, she confessed ignorance of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the most important federal law protecting the rights of students with disabilities. She also said that it should be up to states to decide whether guns are allowed in schools, citing potential grizzly bear attacks in support of this position.

What can I do?

  • Stop DeVos Now. Call your US Senators and urge them to speak out forcefully in opposition to her confirmation.
    • Senator Charles Schumer (Syracuse office): (315) 423-5471
    • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Syracuse office): (315) 448-0470
  • Join the CNY Solidarity Coalition. We meet most Sundays at 3pm, and all are welcome. For more info: (315) 472-5478,,,, @IndivisibleNY24.
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