Saturday, February 4, 2017

Letter to my Senator about Betsy DeVos

My senator's response to my email begging him not to confirm Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education: 

Dear Amy, 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the nomination of the U.S. Secretary of Education. It's good to hear from you. President Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education. Her confirmation hearing was held on January 17, 2017. The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions extensively reviewed and debated her nomination. On January 31, 2017, the committee approved the nomination of Betsy DeVos by a vote of 12-11. Following the committee's review, I personally met with Betsy DeVos to discuss her views on a variety of education issues. I discussed with her the importance of a strong public education system, the unique challenges facing rural states and communities, as well as the need to ensure both opportunities and protections for students with disabilities. She committed to supporting public education, fully enforcing current federal laws, and providing flexibility to states. Following the discussion we had during our meeting, I believe she is dedicated to ensuring students received a quality education and returning the authority over education back to state and local control. 

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me. 

John Barrasso, M.D. United States Senator 

My Response to him: 

Dear Senator Barrasso, 

Your response might be comforting to me if I didn't know Betsy DeVos has literally not one iota of experience in the public school system, and that she is a huge donor to the Republican Party, as was Secretary Tillerson, who personally donated to your campaign. 

Look, I am sure you are a sincere public servant, and that you want to help Wyoming, but you must see this looks bad. In the long term, with DeVos at the head of a government office that affects parents' and children's lives in the most direct and personal way, if she messes up through incompetence or intent to disrupt public education, both of which seem eminently possible, this will have very real political repercussions for everyone who voted for her. I beg you to reconsider. 

Best, AKR