Takeaways From Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos’ Hearing

DeVos revealed little about her views on President Obama’s Title IX directives.

Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos defended state’s rights to develop school gun policies and said it was too early to discuss certain aspects of Title IX in her nomination hearing.

DeVos, a school choice activist, philanthropist and prominent Republican donor, was questioned by the Senate Education Committee Tuesday.

When Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) asked DeVos if she thought that guns had any place in schools, DeVos replied, “I think that’s best left to locales and states to decide.”

DeVos was also asked if she would support Trump’s pledge to end gun-free zones around schools.

“I will support what the president-elect does,” Devos said. “If the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence.”

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DeVos was also asked about the Obama administration’s 2011 Dear Colleague letter, which expanded school requirements to respond to and prevent sexual violence under Title IX.

DeVos said it would be “premature” to agree to uphold the 2011 Dear Colleague letter, but told the committee that, if confirmed, “I look forward to understanding past actions and the current administration better, and to ensuring that the intent of the law is actually carried out in a way that recognizes both the victim, the rights of the victim, as well as those that are accused.”

Campus Safety has reported on some sexual assault victim’s advocates’ concerns that DeVos will work to pull back the federal government’s guidelines on dealing with sexual violence on campus.

DeVos also reiterated her support for private and charter schools. She formerly served as the chairwoman of the board of Alliance for School Choice in Michigan.

“If a [public] school is troubled or unsafe or not a good fit for a child, perhaps they have a special need that’s going unmet, we should support a parent’s right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative,” DeVos said in her opening statement.

Many parts of the hearing highlighted the deep partisan divides on issues surrounding schools in the country.

DeVos was nominated to lead the Department of Education by President-elect Donald Trump Nov. 23. Her confirmation hearing was pushed back a week by Democrats under pressure from teachers’ unions.

Read Next: 2 Lawmakers Vow to Reduce Role of Dept. of Ed. on Campuses

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About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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