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DeVos's confirmation vote is scheduled for noon Tuesday. All 48 members of the Senate Democratic caucus are expected to oppose her, along with two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. Democrats need just one more Republican to flip to defeat the nomination, and they are hoping their 24-hour speech-a-thon will ratchet up the pressure.

Here are samples of articles on who Betsy DeVos is and why we must support the Senate Dems and fight on.

1.From New York Times, November 23, 2016

Ms. DeVos's efforts to expand educational opportunity in her home state of Michigan and across the country have focused little on existing public schools, and almost entirely on establishing newer, more entrepreneurial models to compete with traditional schools for students and money.

Her donations and advocacy go almost entirely toward groups seeking to move students and money away from what Mr. Trump calls "failing government schools." Conservative school choice activists hailed her on Wednesday as a fellow disrupter, and as someone who would block what they see as federal intrusion on local schools. . . .

But to teachers' unions, she is anathema.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, called Ms. DeVos "the most ideological, anti-public education nominee" since the secretary of education was elevated to the cabinet level four decades ago.

Even some groups that share her support for charter schools worried that picking someone so closely identified as a champion of vouchers signaled that the Trump administration would try to starve public schools.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump proposed steering $20 billion in existing federal money toward vouchers that families could use to help pay for private or parochial schools, perhaps tapping into $15 billion in so-called Title I money that goes to schools that serve the country's poorest children. He called school choice "the civil rights issues of our time."

Amber Arellano, the executive director of the Education Trust-Midwest, an advocacy group in Michigan that supports charters but has been critical of a Michigan charter school law that Ms. DeVos has spent millions to defend, said the pick had "the potential to undermine the nation's hard-won progress by diverting resources from the young people who most need them, or by failing to uphold the federal government's responsibility to protecting the needs and interests of all students — especially the most vulnerable."

Michigan is one of the nation's biggest school choice laboratories, especially with charter schools. The Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids school districts have among the nation's 10 largest shares of students in charters, and the state sends $1 billion in education funding to charters annually.

Of those schools, 80 percent are run by for-profit organizations, a far higher share than anywhere else in the nation.The DeVoses, the most prominent name in state Republican politics, have been the biggest financial and political backers of the effort.

But if Michigan is a center of school choice, it is also among the worst places to argue that choice has made schools better.

As the state embraced and then expanded charters over the past two decades, its rank has fallen on national reading and math tests. Most charter schools perform below the state average.

And a federal review in 2015 found "an unreasonably high" percentage of charter schools on the list of the state's lowest-performing schools. The number of charter schools on that list had doubled since 2010, after the passage of a law a group financed by Ms. DeVos pushed to expand the schools. The group blocked a provision in that law that would have prevented failing schools from expanding ....

2. From The Washington Post, February 6, 2017

DeVos has come under fire for stumbling over basic education policy questions during her January confirmation hearing, at one point saying she was "confused" about a landmark 1975 law — the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA — that protects students with disabilities and their access to a free, appropriate public education....

This nomination is dead even right now — on the razor's edge," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat of the Senate Education Committee, said on the floor. Murray, who has a record of bipartisan compromise in the Senate, has been sharply critical of DeVos, arguing that she lacks the experience needed to lead the Education Department and promotes policies that threaten public schools. "For the vast majority of people across the country, public education isn't just another issue. It's different," Murray said. "We believe that a commitment to strong public schools is part of America's core. The idea that every student, in every community, should have the opportunities that strong public schools offer. This is a notion that is embedded in our values. It's who we are. It's in our blood."


February 7, 201

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