Rigg: Senators should change vote on DeVos’ appointment

A critical vote on the future of public education in the United States is expected as early as Monday.

The vote would confirm or deny Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. It’s a vote that has caused a stir throughout the country, including in Wichita.

Saturday, a group of protesters gathered outside Sen. Jerry Moran’s Wichita office asking him to change his plan to vote in favor of DeVos’ appointment. Sen. Pat Roberts also voted in favor in confirming DeVos.

Both senators are in the wrong on this one.

DeVos is against public education. She is more inclined to support charter and private schools, which do not represent all students, but rather students in privilege who can afford to attend them.

DeVos appears to have no problem with guns in schools. She said in her confirmation hearing she thinks states should decide school gun policies.

“I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies,” DeVos said.

Yes, that is a candidate for Secretary of Education arguing that a gun in school will protect students from grizzly bear attacks when there is no evidence of any bear attacks at all. Yet, schools shootings have become all too common in recent years, such as the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

DeVos is also incapable of committing to not working to privatize public schools or cut anything from public education. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, posed the question to DeVos.

In response, DeVos said, “I look forward, if confirmed, to working with you to talk about how we address the needs of all parents and all students. We acknowledge today that not all schools are working for the students that are assigned to them. I’m hopeful that we can work together to find common ground and ways that we can solve those issues and empower parents to make choices on behalf of their children that are right for them.”

Murray, like any reasonable person would with such an answer during a confirmation hearing, took that as not being willing to commit to not privatizing public schools or cutting money from education.

“I guess I wouldn’t characterize it in that way,” DeVos said.

Senators, I implore you to see reason. DeVos is clearly unfit to serve as Secretary of Education. She has made it clear in her own words and people against her appointment agree.

Joan Warren, who attended the protest Saturday, said it best in an interview with KWCH, Channel 12.

“I have a background in education and administration and I’m not qualified, I don’t feel qualified,” Warren said. “But she’s certainly not qualified. Why would we get someone mediocre in there when we’ve got a chance to get the best? What can’t Trump put forward somebody that’s a great educator?”