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February 15, 2017

Betsy DeVos’s confirmation for Secretary of Education means parents and students have a friend as Secretary of Education.

by Ron Pearson

The eight long years of the Obama Administration resulted in more federal regulation of education on all levels and less parental choice and less intellectual diversity on college campuses.

The education establishment embodied in the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers went all out to defeat the DeVos nomination because they do not want parents to have choice in education.  Two Republican Senators (Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine) gave the Democrats 50 votes in the Senate but Vice President Mike Pence’s vote to break the tie made Betsy DeVos the new Secretary of Education.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos brings a person who has shown her strong commitment to parental choice and to encouraging real diversity on American college campuses by returning free speech to students and encouraging all voices to be heard and not just on the left.

Young America’s Foundation supported Betsy DeVos‘s nomination.  Below is the text from the letter expressing that support which was signed by Foundation leaders, student leaders from around the country, and a number of academics.

Dear Senator:

The current U.S. Department of Education is crying out for reform. From regulations and “guidance” letters that restrict freedom of speech and due process on college campuses to a primary and secondary education system that too often puts the priorities of special interests above those of parents and students, the U.S. Department of Education has for too long overreached and under delivered.

Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos is just the person to bring needed reforms to this bureaucracy. She is a long- time leader in the fight to bring quality education to all American students. She has worked tirelessly to give hope to all students and parents, including those in failing inner city school systems.
As she said in her nomination hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, “It’s time to shift the debate from what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect, and deserve.”

Her continuing and tireless advocacy and work for school choice in her home state of Michigan shows that she can be an effective advocate for parents and students throughout the country. As 2000 Vice Presidential nominee Senator Joseph Lieberman said in introducing Mrs. DeVos at the nomination hearing, “She doesn’t come from within the educational establishment. But honestly, I believe that today that’s one of the most important qualifications for this job. We need a change agent.”

As Secretary of Education, Mrs. DeVos will face many who want to continue the failed practices of the past but she, as Senator Lieberman said, can be an agent of change. This is also needed in higher education.

Universities violate students’ speech rights every single day in this country. Conservative students work daily to overcome this and to protect freedom of speech and assembly on America’s high school and college campuses.

President Obama’s Department of Education needs to be reformed so that the weight of the federal government is not used to limit students’ free speech rights and the right of due process. Mrs. DeVos, not being a part of the education establishment, can help stop policies and initiatives that harm our university students, limit their constitutional rights, and trivialize higher education.