Local superintendents react to DeVos confirmation - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Local superintendents react to DeVos confirmation

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In a 51-50 decision on Tuesday afternoon, Senate members confirmed Betsy DeVos as the next Secretary of Education.

To say it was a contentious decision is an understatement - this is the first time in the history of the US the Vice President has had to step in and cast a tie-breaking vote on a cabinet confirmation.

"Really what I will ask is not to hurt public education, not to pull resources out of districts that are in need of federal funding," says Dr. Sharon Kherat, Superintendent for Peoria Public Schools. 

She says she expected the results of DeVos' confirmation vote, and is willing to work alongside her. But she did have some choice thoughts for the new Secretary.
"Public education cannot be simplified to vouchers and charter schools." 

Peoria County Superintendent Beth Derry was also critical of DeVos' background in private education and her desire to shift to a focus on charter schools.

"85% of our children are in public schools," explains Derry. "And with her background in Private Education, choice, charter schools, etc. I'm hoping that now that she will see that she represents all children."

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth voted against DeVos and released a statement after her confirmation. It reads in part:

'It is a shame that someone who has never been a teacher...will now helm the agency tasked with educating our children.'

Controversy has surrounded the pick for Betsy DeVos because she's a known, multi-million dollar donor to the Trump campaign, and lacks any significant background in public education. 

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