Betsy Devos Gets Detention

Betsy Devos senate hearing raises questions about her qualifications to be secretary of education

Sarah Preston and Kianna Koeppen

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Qualifications

Opinions on Betsy DeVos’s Secretary of Education nomination and qualifications are divided amongst both republicans and democrats. Her lack of experience in the education field, large sum of money, amount of education, and other reasons have set some people against her.  

When Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, asked about a debate in the educational system about whether students should be measured by grade-level proficiency or yearly progress and DeVos asked for clarification, Bennett responded, “This is a topic that has been debated in the education community for years, so it surprises me that you don’t know this issue.”

Guns in school

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, pushed DeVos to give a clear answer on the topic about guns in schools. Although a relevant question, this topic hits home for Murphy. In 2012, Sandy Hook, a Connecticut elementary school, suffered a tragic loss from a school shooting, killing 28 students and teachers. Murphy is strictly against the presence of guns on any school campus.

When Murphy asked Betsy DeVos if guns should be allowed in schools, DeVos responded by saying, “I think it’s up to States and locals to decide.”

While Murphy pushed back, she cited an example made by Senator Enzi, R-Wyoming, about a Wyoming school replying, “I think probably there, I would imagine there is probably a gun in a school to protect from potential grizzlies.”

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, asked if schools that receive federal funding should have to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is a federally mandated law requiring schools to address students’ special needs.

She responded, “I think that’s a matter best left to the states.”

Kaine followed-up by asking if she was aware that the IDEA was a federal law and that she would have to enforce as education secretary. She openly admitted that she may have been confused and said “federal laws must be followed.”

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