Statement of Agudath Israel of America On Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as US Secretary of Ed

Agudath Israel of America congratulates Betsy DeVos on her confirmation today as the next U.S. Secretary of Education. Mrs. DeVos has spent the last three decades focused on giving parents and children educational opportunities. She will now bring her passion to the more than 50 million children educated in schools across America.
Agudath Israel has been deeply engaged in the national discussion on educational reform for more than 60 years and has worked closely with elected officials on both sides of the aisle to seek ways to enhance American education – both public and nonpublic. Support for public education should include the entire public, including parents who seek for their children an educational alternative to their local public school.
Agudath Israel looks forward to continuing to work with Mrs. DeVos and with stakeholders from across the educational spectrum to create and implement policies that benefit every child in America, regardless of where they live or attend school.



  1. A small group of local activists met with the Casper-based staff for Wyoming Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso to express their concerns about Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the U.S. Department of Education..

    Jane Ifland, Cindy Wells, and 10 other activists went because they don’t think DeVos is qualified. Wells points out that the nominee’s experience in education has been entirely in the field of private and charter schools. They worried about online schooling, which DeVos has invested in, and what it might do to local communities, where schools are often the center of society.

    They met with the senators’ staffs to urge the lawmakers not to vote to confirm DeVos. That vote will likely happen Tuesday. It appears that she will likely be confirmed by one vote, a tiebreaker from Vice President Mike Pence, which prompted Democrats in the Senate to refuse to yield the floor.

    The close vote total is why Ifland, Wells and their fellow activists went to the offices.

    “This was so egregious, outside of common sense, none of us felt we could just sit by, watch it happen and not have done the best we could to halt it,” said Ifland, who helped organize the Women’s March last month.

    Some lawmakers have expressed the same concerns Wells and Ifland did: DeVos spent a majority of her educational efforts and money in Michigan, pushing charter schools and school choice. But in comments last month, state superintendent Jillian Balow said DeVos’ lack of public school experience may be a plus. Balow said she wants the education department to operate as a fund manager rather than a policy advocate.

    That philosophy, she said, makes “exact qualifications” matter less.

    Wyoming’s senators don’t seem concerned, either. Enzi said in a statement that he would vote to confirm DeVos, and Barrasso’s spokeswoman, Laura Mengelkamp, said that the senator will also be supporting the nomination.

    “I voted to advance Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Secretary of Education to the full Senate because I believe she will allow states and local public school districts to implement their own plans to improve the educational outcomes for all of our students without burdensome federal intrusion,” Enzi wrote in the statement.

    Mengelkamp said much the same about Barrasso’s feelings on DeVos’ position, but she added that the two “talked about the need to ensure both opportunities and protections for students with disabilities.”


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