For Immediate Release

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Responds to Historically Close Vote on DeVos Confirmation

WASHINGTON - Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement following today’s historically close vote on the Betsy DeVos nomination for Secretary of Education:

“Betsy DeVos has never been a student, parent, supporter, or employee in a public school or school system in any capacity, and yet she is now tasked with ensuring our nation’s children have equal access to a quality education.  The fact that her confirmation vote was the first in American history to require a tie breaking vote by the Vice President speaks to the widespread concern about her qualifications raised by the civil rights community, concerned parents and educators from across the country.

We applaud all Senate Democrats and Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski for putting a commitment to enforcing our education and civil rights laws above party politics. 


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The Department of Education has a legal obligation to protect the civil rights of all students, and we, along with our coalition partners, will be watching to ensure that Secretary DeVos fulfills that responsibility.  Our children are entitled to, and deserve, a quality education regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexuality, first language, family income or immigration status. 

While a setback, this vote is not a defeat.  Working with partners at the federal, state and local level, we will hold this new Secretary accountable to faithfully executing our nation’s education and civil rights laws.  Our Constitution, economy, future and children deserve no less.”


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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.

The Leadership Conference is a 501(c)(4) organization that engages in legislative advocacy.  It was founded in 1950 and has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.

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