In response to emails telling him to vote against Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as secretary of education, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) is saying she’s good at business.
“While it is true she is not a career educator, she does have significant business and administrative skills,” Hoeven is replying to concerned constituents. “I believe that over time North Dakota educators will see that she will be very supportive of them and their outstanding work.”
The letter makes no mention of DeVos’s utter lack of knowledge about education, which was revealed during her recent confirmation hearing.
“In questioning by senators, she seemed either unaware or unsupportive of the longstanding policies and functions of the department she is in line to lead, from special education rules to the policing of for-profit universities,” The New York Times reported.
“Ms. Devos admitted that she might have been ‘confused’ when she appeared not to know that the broad statute that has governed special education for more than four decades is federal law.
“She appeared blank on basic education terms. Asked how school performance should be assessed, she did not know the difference between growth, which measures how much students have learned over a given period, and proficiency, which measure how many students reach a targeted score.”
In his email, Hoeven doesn’t even try to convince constituents that DeVos is knowledgeable about education policy. Nowhere in the letter does he praise her expertise in the field.
However, he does write that he asked DeVos whether “she supports public education and state and local control,” to which she answered yes. “I have every intention of holding her to that commitment,” Hoeven writes.
He’s impressed that DeVos admits to supporting public education? That’s the fundamental aspect of the job. Standards are low.
Here is Hoeven’s full letter:
Thank you for contacting me regarding President Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
As a United States Senator, it is my duty to thoroughly review the record and qualifications of each nominee and vote on his or her confirmation accordingly. I take this responsibility seriously and value having your input during the confirmation process.
North Dakota has excellent public schools and teachers who work hard every day to provide our students with a quality education, which is why I have always strongly supported and will continue to support our public education system. When I met with Betsy DeVos, she told me she would not take away funding from public schools in North Dakota. I made a point to ask her if she supports public education and state and local control. She assured me that she does support both, and I have every intention of holding her to that commitment.
We worked hard in the Senate during the last Congress to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act with strong bipartisan support. This legislation requires federal funding to go only to states, public school districts, and tribes. It provides both authority and funding for education at the state and local level to ensure that parents, students, and teachers determine how our children are educated. I have worked to make sure that North Dakotans, not the federal government, will make decisions about our children’s education.
Finally, DeVos has also committed to fully support the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding and implementation in written follow-up to her Senate testimony. While it is true she is not a career educator, she does have significant business and administrative skills. I believe that over time North Dakota educators will see that she will be very supportive of them and their outstanding work.
Again, thank you for contacting me. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (202) 224-2551.