Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander Concerning the Hearing of Betsy Devos

January 23, 2017

Dear Senator Alexander,

I am writing today concerning the nomination process of Betsy DeVos. It is my understanding that, as the Chairman of the Senate HELP committee, that you were in charge of the proceedings where senators were given the opportunity to examine the qualifications of and question Ms. DeVos. It is also my understanding that you allowed significantly less time to question Ms. DeVos as was necessary in these proceedings.

 

As a previous Secretary of Education yourself, I am sure you are well aware of all of the challenges that the Department faces. That is why I am alarmed to learn that not only is Ms. DeVos largely unqualified to run the department, and not only had she donated to President Trump’s campaign and openly admits to wanting something in return for her donations, but that you structured the proceedings so that she was sheltered from the highest degree of examination. The mere suggestion that she may have purchased this position of power is disgusting and must be questioned deeply. If you think so poorly of the Department and state of education in this country that you would allow for the directorship of public education to be purchased with campaign donations, why are you the chairman of the HELP committee? You must not think of yourself as a particularly strong or effective leader if that is the case.

 

Further, it is simply inexcusable that Ms. DeVos could be the head of education for our nation, and not understand that it is necessary to educate all individuals, regardless of their abilities, and that states do not get to “opt out” of that. It is unthinkable that you could consider allowing a person who has never stepped foot inside a classroom or public school, nor worked directly with children besides her own, could possibly be aware of any of the challenges that schools and families face. As a public school graduate, the daughter of a school administrator, and the partner of a public school teacher, I am heavily disappointed in your decision to thinly veil your partisan behavior with cover of proceedings, when we all know you can do more. Betsy DeVos’s nomination is unprecedented with her extreme lack of qualifications, as you should know from holding the very same position she is appointed to. Please reconsider your decision and open a second round of public questioning before she is confirmed this week.

Sincerely,

Megan Baker

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