Jan 10, 2017
ELW

UPDATE: Hearing Delayed! National Parent Coalition Sends Senate Questions About DeVos Record on Standards, Privacy, Etc.

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee was scheduled to vet the nomination of Mrs. Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education on Wednesday, January 11th at 10 AM.

Education Liberty Watch is helping to lead a very large national coalition consisting of nearly 60 parent organizations, education experts and writers, and elected officials that are extremely concerned about Mrs. DeVos’ record and views regarding Common Core, parental and private school autonomy, data privacy, freedom of conscience, and federal education overreach. Also of grave concern is her strong and close association with Jeb Bush and his Excel in Ed. Foundation,

The coalition has written a letter containing questions  HELP Committee members are requested to pose to Secretary-designate DeVos. This later came after several more from groups and coalitions from several points on the political spectrum. This letter is one of the few dealing with Common Core, privacy and parental rights. While likely coincidental and not causal, it is extremely interesting to note that within a few hours of receiving this parent letter, the HELP Committee delayed the hearing for a week citing Senate scheduling concerns.

Some examples of these questions in the coalition letter include:

We understand that your website statement right after your appointment that you are “not a supporter – period” of Common Core was meant to reassure activists that you oppose the standards and will honor Mr. Trump’s promise to get rid of Common Core. Please list your efforts during your extensive period of education activism and philanthropy to fight the implementation of the standards.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires secretarial approval of state education plans for standards, tests and accountability. Will you support state sovereignty by approving the state plans in line with Mr. Trump’s vision of decreasing the federal role in education, or will you exercise federal control by secretarial veto power over these plans?

Through commissions, programs, federally funded groups, the newly passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the proposed Strengthening Education Through Research Act, and other entities, there has been an explosion of effort to expand invasive, subjective social emotional learning (SEL) standards , curricula and assessment. What is your view of SEL and what will you do to protect student psychological privacy and freedom of conscience?

We believe that it is very important for the American people to hear her views on these critical education issues as the Senate prepares to vote on the DeVos confirmation.

This coalition of national organizations like Education Liberty Watch and Eagle Forum and state organizations, experts and officials represents hundreds of thousands, if not millions of American families. The signatories are from 23 state organizations including DeVos’ home state of Michigan and many represented by members of the HELP Committee, such as Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray,and Senators Isakson, Young, Roberts, Paul, Cassidy, Franken, Hatch, and Baldwin.

 

Please read the questions and contact the US Senate HELP Committee with your concerns about Betsy DeVos! Contact information for each member is available at  http://www.help.senate.gov/about/members

Thank you!
 
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