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January 26, 2017

The Honorable Thomas R. Carper
513 Hart Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Christopher A. Coons
127A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senators Carper and Coons:
One of the most critical components of our countrys future is the education of the next
generation, providing all students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a 21st
century economy. Given the importance of education and its connection to our nations success,
it is with great concern and urgency that we write you regarding President Trumps nomination
and your committees consideration of Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. Secretary of Education.
Ms. DeVos is wholly unqualified to lead the U.S. Department of Education. She has no public
school experience whatsoever not as a school administrator, not as a teacher, and not as a
school board member. While a career in education is not a prerequisite for this post, it should be
a major consideration in determining a persons qualifications to lead this vital agency.
Our public school teachers work long hours to help prepare their students to be successful, not
just in a career, but in life. They are role models, mentors, guides, confidantes, and oftentimes,
friends. They deserve far more support than they often receive, and they most certainly deserve a
Secretary of Education who will be an advocate for them on a national stage.
Instead, Ms. DeVos has shown throughout the confirmation process and previous words and
actions that she would be quite the opposite. Her confirmation as Secretary of Education would
set public education back and cause serious perhaps irreparable harm to our schools.

Specifically, we are concerned about:

Ms. DeVos lack of knowledge of basic education policy. During a discussion about
standardized testing, she was unable to distinguish between proficiency or student
growth. She also did not understand that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA) is a federal law, suggesting that states could choose whether to enforce it.
Ms. DeVos advocacy for private school vouchers. Her support for this cannibalization
of our public school funds would leave many schools that already struggle with funding
issues in an untenable situation. Beyond that, she also would not agree that all schools
public, charter and private that receive government funds should be held to the same
accountability standards.
Ms. DeVos views on guns in schools. Presented with a straightforward question about
whether she opposed having guns in schools, she suggested that there might be a need for
firearms due to such instances as rural schools protecting the grounds from grizzly bears.
Ms. DeVos positions on civil rights. The Secretary of Education oversees the Office of
Civil Rights, which ensures that students across the country have equal access to a quality
education and that school discipline is applied evenly. Protecting students civil rights
regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation is critical. However, Ms.
DeVos has financially supported groups that oppose such equality and protection.
Teachers, students and parents deserve a Secretary of Education who will push for the
improvements necessary to strengthen our public education system, not weaken it. They need
someone who will be a strong advocate for successful public schools, not someone looking to
divert critical funds through school vouchers. And they need a leader who is qualified to make
informed decisions, not someone who lacks knowledge of basic education policy. For these
reasons, we urge you to reject Ms. DeVos nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education.
Kimberly A. Williams
State Representative
Education Committee Vice-Chair

Sean Matthews
State Representative
Education Committee

Earl G. Jaques Jr.

State Representative
Education Committee Chair

David Bentz
State Representative
Education Committee

Stephanie T. Bolden
State Representative
Education Committee

Debra Heffernan
State Representative
Education Committee

Sean M. Lynn
State Representative
Education Committee

Edward Osienski
State Representative
Education Committee

Charles Potter Jr.

State Representative
Education Committee

Melanie G. Smith
State Representative
Education Committee

Peter C. Schwartzkopf
Speaker of the House

Valerie J. Longhurst
House Majority Leader

John J. Viola
House Majority Whip

Paul S. Baumbach
State Representative

Andria L. Bennett
State Representative

Gerald L. Brady
State Representative

William J. Carson
State Representative

James Johnson
State Representative

S. Quinton Johnson
State Representative

Helene M. Keeley
State Representative

John A. Kowalko Jr.

State Representative

J. Larry Mitchell
State Representative

Michael P. Mulrooney
State Representative

W. Charles Paradee III

State Representative

Bryon H. Short
State Representative


Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester

Senator Lamar Alexander, Chair, U.S Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and
Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member, U.S Senate Committee on Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions

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