05.15.18

Murray Urges Senate to Reject Secretary DeVos’ Right Hand Man, Calls for Department of Education to Once Again Stand Up for Students

Murray Urges Senate to Reject Secretary DeVos’ Right Hand Man, Calls for Department of Education to Once Again Stand Up for Students

 

Murray calls on colleagues to reject Deputy Secretary of Education nominee General Mick Zais

 

Zais has a controversial history as South Carolina State Superintendent of Education

 

Like DeVos Zais has extreme views on privatization and lacks basic understanding of key education issues

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee delivered a floor speech today in opposition to President Trump’s nominee for Deputy Secretary of Education, General Mitchell Zais. Murray objected to General Zais’ support of Secretary DeVos’ extreme agenda and his own record of putting ideology ahead of students.

 

“With Secretary DeVos’ ideological agenda steering this ship, it’s clear the Department of Education needs a strong and independent Deputy Secretary of Education to once again start putting students first. Unfortunately, General Zais made it clear he would be proud to be Secretary DeVos’ right hand man—and shares her position on a number of concerning issues”

 

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s floor speech:

 

“We need a Department of Education with a positive vision for our neighborhood public schools that believes that everyone has the right to a high quality public education no matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make. That is what millions of parents, teachers, and students stood up for during Secretary DeVos’ confirmation hearing. And despite the public rejection of her extreme ideology and her unprecedented tie-breaking confirmation vote by Vice President Pence—it’s clear Secretary DeVos has led the Department of Education in the opposite direction.”

 

“Unfortunately, General Zais made it clear he would be proud to be Secretary DeVos’ right hand man—and shares her position on a number of concerning issues. He agrees with Secretary DeVos’ extreme privatization agenda to siphon taxpayer funds from public schools. He largely opposes the federal role in education and—like Secretary DeVos—seems to lack understanding of key issues important to public schools. And as the State Superintendent of Education, General Zais allowed his partisan ideology to hurt South Carolina students. He refused federal funding that could have saved teachers’ jobs—the only state to do so. And he objected to plans to expand access to universal pre-K, calling five-year-olds too young to learn—a particularly shocking comment to those of us who understand the importance of the first five years for children’s development.”

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech:

 

Thank you, M. President.

 

I’ve come to the floor to oppose the nomination of General Mitchell Zais, who has been nominated to serve as Secretary DeVos’ Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education.

 

I am opposing this nomination because those who work at the Department of Education should be committed to its top priority—helping educate our next generation of students.

 

They should not be focused on demonizing teachers, public schools, and the federal government’s role in public education…

 

And they should not promote their extreme ideological agendas at the expense of our students.

 

We need a Department of Education with a positive vision for our neighborhood public schools that believes that everyone has the right to a high quality public education no matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make.

 

That is what millions of parents, teachers, and students stood up for during Secretary DeVos’ confirmation hearing.

 

And despite the public rejection of her extreme ideology and her unprecedented tie-breaking confirmation vote by Vice President Pence—it’s clear Secretary DeVos has led the Department of Education in the opposite direction.  

 

She has continued to push her privatization agenda—trying to siphon taxpayer funds away from public schools…

 

She has ignored key parts of our nation’s K-12 law—refusing to hold states accountable for the success of our most vulnerable students.

 

She has made it easier for predatory for-profit companies to take advantage of students—rolling back protections for students, and dismantling the unit that investigates claims of fraud and abuse.

 

And time and time again, she has failed to protect students’ civil rights.

 

She has tried to shrink the Office for Civil Rights, rolled back protections for transgender students, and rescinded guidance for schools on how to investigate claims of campus sexual assault.

 

So M. President—with Secretary DeVos’ ideological agenda steering this ship, it’s clear the Department of Education needs a strong and independent Deputy Secretary of Education to once again start putting students first.

 

Unfortunately, General Zais made it clear he would be proud to be Secretary DeVos’ right hand man—and shares her position on a number of concerning issues.

 

He agrees with Secretary DeVos’ extreme privatization agenda to siphon taxpayer funds from public schools…

 

He largely opposes the federal role in education and—like Secretary DeVos—seems to lack understanding of key issues important to public schools…

 

And as the State Superintendent of Education, General Zais allowed his partisan ideology to hurt South Carolina students…

 

He refused federal funding that could have saved teachers’ jobs—the only state to do so…

 

And he objected to plans to expand access to universal pre-K, calling five-year-olds too young to learn—a particularly shocking comment to those of us who understand the importance of the first five years for children’s development.

 

So, M. President, I come to the floor today on behalf of the millions of parents, students, and teachers who so loudly objected to Secretary DeVos’ agenda during her confirmation…

 

And I ask my colleagues to vote against this nomination—and not allow another DeVos-like nominee into the Department of Education.

 

Thank you, I yield the floor.

 

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