January 23, 2017

Cardin Statement in Opposition to the Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of the Department of Education

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) released the following statement announcing his opposition to the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education.

“Last week, Mrs. DeVos appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee to articulate her views on how to best serve our nation’s students. I was deeply troubled by her lack of support for our nation’s public schools, failure to recognize the critical federal civil rights safeguards for children with disabilities, the inability to offer an opinion on long-standing debates with the education community that she would be expected to lead as Secretary of Education, and her noncommittal stance on how to provide students and their families with an affordable higher education. Our children deserve a strong advocate, not an adversary.

“As a proud graduate of Baltimore City Public Schools, I understand how incredibly important it is that all Maryland public schools and teachers have the tools and resources necessary to provide children with the highest quality education. I have serious concerns that Mrs. DeVos’ enthusiastic support for school choice programs will drain resources from our public schools and harm the ability of Maryland’s hard working public school professionals to deliver a college- and career-ready education for Maryland’s diverse students. While the bulk of education policy is decided at the state and local level, our nation’s public schools need a Secretary of Education who understands the law they are entrusted to enforce and express a willingness to hold all school systems accountable, whether public, charter, or private.

“For those Marylanders pursuing a higher education, which is essential for most high-paying jobs in today’s economy, I was disappointed that Mrs. DeVos did not voice her support for America’s College Promise, which would provide academically successful students with the ability to earn the first two years of their college degree tuition-free at a community college. As one of the many billionaires nominated for the Trump Cabinet, Mrs. DeVos seems unable to understand the weight of the debt many families undertake in order to place their foothold in the middle class. Instead, she signaled a willingness to roll back protections for student and taxpayer funds being wasted at failing for-profit schools – schools that do not provide students with the skills or experience needed to participate in the workplace. 

“Although I believe Mrs. DeVos is very sincere in her beliefs, taken together, those beliefs would severely harm America’s public education system and pile on needless costs to students and their families, and the American taxpayers.  I cannot support her nomination for the position of Secretary of Education.”