GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Jan. 26) — Thousands of students and alumni at Calvin College here, Betsy DeVos’s alma mater, have signed a letter in opposition to her nomination as the next education secretary, WOOD-TV (NBC affiliate) reports.
The Christian college is “highly regarded as an institution that values intellectualism, critical thinking, discernment, and academic excellence,” and students identify four reasons why they think senators shouldn’t confirm her nomination by President Donald Trump:
- She doesn’t have the required “intimate knowledge of the tools used by educators” because she has never worked as an educator or administrator.
- Since the “vast majority of K-12 students are educated in the public school system,” Ms DeVos needs a stronger commitment to public schools than she has shown.
- Her commitment to education is limited to the one ideology of financial support for “religious and charter schools,” which is insufficient for her federal position.
- She showed at her hearing that she didn’t fully support federal efforts to protect students under IDEA or Title IX from discrimination.
For the record, Ms DeVos said in a new letter that she will enforce the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, although the Calvin College letter writers are correct that she stumbled on a question about the special education law at her confirmation hearing last week. She didn’t seem to realize that IDEA was a federal law.
“I am committed to enforcing all federal laws and protecting the hard won rights of students with disabilities,” she wrote in the letter addressed to Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia. She also acknowledged a “federal role in implementing IDEA.”
But the students haven’t been the only ones opposing Ms DeVos’s nomination. Senators say they have received tens of thousands of calls, emails, and letters from citizens. Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said his office had received over 50,000 messages in opposition to her nomination. Senator Tim Kaine’s office said at least 25,000 emails and letters about Ms DeVos had been received, as well as about a thousand phone calls, Politico reports.
Because of the volume, I suggest calling just the senators from the state you live in, not other senators simply because they’re on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The general number for the Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121, and the operator will be able to direct your call.