(Washington, D.C.) — Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
“Few things are more important in our work to expand opportunities and grow our economy than making sure that every student has access to a high-quality education no matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make. We’ve taken some strong steps in the right direction in recent years to support students and make sure teachers and schools have the tools they need to succeed, but we have a whole lot more work to do, and our children absolutely cannot afford for us to move backwards.
“I look forward to meeting with Betsy DeVos and talking to her about her vision for the Department of Education and whether and how it includes expanding access to educational opportunities for students across the country. This is a critical leadership position in our federal government that impacts the lives, civil rights, and futures of millions of students and families—so I plan to scrutinize her record closely and ask her important questions about her qualifications and experience, values and priorities, work and financial history, and plans for the Department. And I am going to do everything I can to make sure that the voices of students and parents in Washington state and across the country are heard loud and clear in this process.
“I am going to be very focused on making sure that the next Secretary of Education is truly committed to implementing our new Every Student Succeeds Act in the way that Congress intended, especially when it comes to maintaining the strong federal guardrails that make sure that our most vulnerable students don’t get left behind.
“I am also very interested in Ms. DeVos' plans when it comes to expanding access to high quality early learning opportunities and making sure that all of our students are learning in environments safe from violence and bullying. And any Secretary of Education needs to be ready to get to work with us to make college more affordable, tackle the crushing burden of student loan debt, and fight back against the scourge of campus sexual harassment, assault and violence.
“President-elect Trump has made a number of troubling statements over the course of his campaign on a range of issues that a future Secretary of Education will be charged with implementing and enforcing—from education policy, to civil rights and equality of opportunity, to his personal views on sexual assault and harassment, and more. Right now students, parents, teachers and school leaders across the country are demanding to know how his Secretary of Education will ensure the safety and respect of all students, of all backgrounds, all across this country—and I will be focused throughout this process on how his nominee intends to do just that.
“I look forward to discussing these issues, and many more, with Ms. DeVos directly as part of what must be a robust vetting and hearing process.”