A Senate committee has approved Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos for education secretary, even as two GOP senators expressed some reservations.
After a heated debate Tuesday morning, senators on the Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee have voted 12-11 along partisan lines to support DeVos’ nomination, sending it to the full Senate for action.
But two prominent Republicans on the committee, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, are expressing their skepticism over DeVos. They say they are not yet sure whether they will vote for her on the Senate floor.
Murkowski says DeVos has yet to prove that she deeply cares about America’s struggling schools and its children. Murkowski says the nominee has not yet earned her full support.
Democrat Patty Murray charged that DeVos has spent her family’s wealth to push “extreme anti-student ideology.”
Responding to fierce criticism from teachers unions that the Republican donor and school choice activist is working against public education, DeVos told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last week that she will be “a strong advocate for great public schools.”
“But,” she added, “if a school is troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child – perhaps they have a special need that is going unmet – we should support a parent’s right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative.”