Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced today that she will vote against Betsy DeVos who is President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary to the U.S. Department of Education.
Heitkamp says her office received almost 1,400 emails, letters and phone calls from North Dakotans about DeVos’ nomination. Of those 1,400 comments, 95 percent of those who reached out to Heitkamp opposed Devos’ nomination. Three percent supported the appointment and the remaining two percent were neutral.
Heitkamp said in a statement, “I’m the produce of a good public school education – so are my six brothers and sisters, and my two kids. In North Dakota and across rural America, a public school education backed up by hardworking teachers is what enables kids to get the education they deserve – and I see the benefits of it for kids over and over again in our state.”
“Taking away those public schools is not an option. After watching the U.S. Senate hearing on Ms. DeVos’s nomination, it was clear that she doesn’t understand the importance of public schools – highlighting her preference for private schools and her work to accomplish that goal by taking public funds away from public schools. She showed her severe lack of knowledge about rural public schools, which represent about one-third of public schools nationwide. And she doesn’t have a grasp of basic education policy or laws supporting students with disabilities, yet she wants to run the federal agency overseeing the education of our kids. Simply, we need an education secretary who puts students first and will work to strengthen public school education, not someone who would privatize it as Betsy DeVos would.”
In a release Heitkamp also attached several comments from North Dakotans who provided feedback to the Senator’s office through a new online portal she launched last month where constituents can provide feedback specifically related to presidential nominees.
“My husband and I are both public educators and we know how critical a good public school education is for students all across North Dakota, including our two daughters. We need a leader at the U.S. Department of Education who supports students, teachers, and public schools. Unfortunately, Betsy DeVos wants to dismantle public schools.” – Amber from Burleigh County
“Her lack of experience is alarming. Her insufficient knowledge is frightening. Her half-hearted approach is unacceptable. We expect and request better for our children.” – Natalie from Bottineau County
“Mrs. DeVos is not qualified to serve in this position nor is she good for the future of education for students in North Dakota. Although there is always room for improvement within the public school system, appointing someone who has made it her goal to work against public education is not in the best interest of all students.” – Laura from Burleigh County
“As a former public school teacher and grandmother of 6, I do not support Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. She should not get this job with no experience in education other than trying to get rid of public schools.” – Patricia from Bottineau County