The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to vet the nomination of Mrs. Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education on Wednesday, January 17th at 5:00 PM (EST).
A very large national coalition consisting of nearly 60 parent organizations, education experts and writers, and elected officials are extremely concerned about Mrs. Devos’ record and views regarding Common Core, parental and private school autonomy, data privacy, freedom of conscience, and federal education overreach. The coalition has written a letter containing questions HELP Committee members are requested to pose to Secretary-designate DeVos.
Some examples of questions include:
- We understand that your website statement right after your appointment that you are “not a supporter – period” of Common Core was meant to reassure activists that you oppose the standards and will honor Mr. Trump’s promise to get rid of Common Core. Please list your efforts during your extensive period of education activism and philanthropy to fight the implementation of the standards.
- The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires secretarial approval of state education plans for standards, tests and accountability. Will you support state sovereignty by approving the state plans in line with Mr. Trump’s vision of decreasing the federal role in education, or will you exercise federal control by secretarial veto power over these plans?
- Through commissions, programs, federally funded groups, the newly passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the proposed Strengthening Education Through Research Act, and other entities, there has been an explosion of effort to expand invasive, subjective social emotional learning (SEL) standards, curricula and assessment. What is your view of SEL and what will you do to protect student psychological privacy and freedom of conscience?
“We believe that it is very important for the American people to hear her views on these critical education issues as the Senate prepares to vote on the DeVos confirmation,” said Karen R. Effrem, MD, President of Education Liberty Watch.
This coalition of national and state organizations, experts and officials represents hundreds of thousands, if not millions of American families. The signatories are from 23 state organizations including DeVos’ home state of Michigan and many represented by members of the Senate HELP Committee, such as Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Todd Young (R-IN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Al Franken (D-MN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
Disclaimer: Our editor, Shane Vander Hart, has signed this letter.