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As Opposition to DeVos Swells, Hope for Her Rejection Builds

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said no Democrat will vote in favor of DeVos, and the party is actively seeking Republicans to oppose her as well

Opponents note DeVos' track record of opposing public schools, disregarding civil rights, and having no experience as a teacher or an agency leader. (Photo: Getty)

There may be enough opposition to Education Secretary pick Betsy DeVos to overturn her nomination, as activists, teachers, and members of Congress step up their resistance.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said he would vote against DeVos, stating that the billionaire heiress and proponent of privatization would "single-handedly decimate our public education system."

President Donald Trump's "decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefited from the public education system in this country," Schumer said. "I will vote no, and I will do it proudly."

In fact, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Thursday, no Democrat will vote in favor of DeVos, and party officials are actively seeking Republicans to oppose her as well.

"She is someone that there's not going to be one Democratic vote for her and we're trying to find Republicans who will vote against her because she's an ideologue who knows next to nothing about education policy as we demonstrated, or she demonstrated really, in her confirmation hearing," Franken said.

"There's going to be a lot of these nominees who we're going to do everything we can to defeat. As you know these nominees need 51 votes and we have 48, so we need some Republicans…You will see a number of these nominees who virtually all of us [Democrats] will oppose…I'm sure that's true of DeVos," he added.

The Washington Post notes that no Republican has come out publicly against her—and, in fact, some have already pledged their support—but that hasn't slowed down a resolute campaign by education advocates and progressive organizations.


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Opponents note her track record of opposing public schools, disregarding civil rights, and having no experience as a teacher or an agency leader—among other misplaced priorities.

The campaign has reportedly led to senators' phone lines being jammed and offices flooded with letters urging them to reject DeVos, with some Democratic lawmakers reporting that the call against her is stronger than any other nominee.

A CREDO Action petition opposing her has picked up at least 1.4 million signatures. Meanwhile, education historian and blogger Diane Ravitch urged her readers to call on Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to reject DeVos, using a template provided by the anti-rightwing advocacy group People for the American Way.

And a group of Indiana teachers on Thursday held a sit-in at the office of Sen. Ted Young, a Republican who received donations from the DeVos family, who are heirs to the Amway fortune.

"Why would she pay so much, with so much desire to have this job if she were unqualified for it?" they asked.

DeVos' confirmation vote is set for Tuesday, January 31.

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