Tester to Oppose Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos

Public Education too Important to Risk Privatization

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced his opposition to political activist Betsy DeVos’ nomination to become U.S. Education Secretary:

“After meeting with Mrs. DeVos, seeing her confirmation hearing and hearing from hundreds of Montanans, I cannot in good conscience vote to confirm her as Education Secretary. As a former school board member, teacher, and as a graduate of public schools, I know how fundamental public education is to our democracy. Strengthening our public education system for all students should be the goal of any Education Secretary and it is clear to me that Mrs. DeVos prioritizes private schools over public ones. That would put our students, Montana’s rural communities, and our very democracy at risk.”

Tester met with DeVos and outlined his concerns over her lack of experience in public education and her support of vouchers and the impact they would have on rural school districts.

Tester received hundreds of comments from Montanans opposing DeVos.

Folks from across Montana praised Tester’s position.

“Betsy DeVos doesn’t have even a rudimentary understanding of public schools in America. She knows nothing about IDEA. She does not know the difference between student progress and student proficiency. She has never suffered suffocating debt to get through higher education. And she is a charter school zealot who would add nothing of educational value to our state but seriously compromise how we the people govern and pay for the quality public schools we already have. We are darned lucky Jon Tester is our senator. Unlike Betsy DeVos Jon knows how we live, work, and educate kids in Montana.” – Eric Feaver, President of MEA MFT

“Our public schools, with a proud history, deserve someone who knows and understands the success of our small, rural schools. Mrs. DeVos support for vouchers and charter schools demonstrates that she is not that individual. Our small frontier schools are already innovative and ahead of the curve regarding academic measures of success. For these and other reasons, the Montana Small Schools Alliance cannot support Mrs. Betsy DeVos for United States Secretary of Education.” – Dan Rask, Executive Director of Montana Small Schools Alliance

“School Administrators of Montana’s (SAM’s) core purpose is Visionary leaders united in providing, advocating, and creating education excellence for Montana students! The Secretary of Education is our nations’ representative and advocate for every public school child’s education all across the United States. A review of the responses to questions of Ms. DeVos during the confirmation hearings reveals that she lacks a commitment to accountability and transparency that is the hallmark of the work in our Montana rural schools; and that she portrays an agenda contrary to the vision for creating excellence for Montana students. For these reasons, SAM is thankful for the vote of Senator Tester against the confirmation of Ms. DeVos as the representative of Montana’s (and the nation’s) public school children. Our nation deserves a secretary of education who clearly understands the needs and the challenges of our public schools and will work tirelessly to encourage, promote and engage all powers that be to support the nation’s public school children.” – Kirk Miller, Executive Director of School Administrators of Montana

The Montana PTA also expressed concerns with several positions held by DeVos.

“Montana PTA has long stood for high quality public education with high standards and accountability and seeks to ensure robust funding for public education at all levels of government. We strongly oppose any diversion of public funds from our public school system. We oppose efforts to undermine public education by diverting tax payer’s funds to any private school choice system – vouchers, tax credits or deductions.” – Sherry Holderith, President of Montana PTA