No word from the White House (or Winter White House) regarding my letter about the Women’s March. However, my senators did response more promptly to my e-mail questioning nominee Betsy DeVos’ ability to understand rural school districts such as ours. Keep up the letter, post-card, and e-mail correspondences. Keep some Capitol Hill staffers busy.
Thank you for contacting me and sharing your concern about President Trump’s choice of Betsy DeVos to become the next Secretary of the Department of Education. Hearing from West Virginians is important to me, and I appreciate your input on this issue.
As a former Governor, I understand how crucial it is for an executive leader to have his team in place, but I simply cannot support the nomination of Betsy DeVos. I have serious concerns about her qualifications and do not believe that she has the necessary experience and expertise to steer the Department with the principles that protect our nation’s public schools. Betsy DeVos has spent her entire career advocating for school choice including public school vouchers and charter schools. This approach does not match the needs of our rural communities in West Virginia and would pull already limited public school resources from the schools, students and teachers that need them most.
Betsy DeVos has never attended or worked in a public school. The needs facing rural schools in West Virginia are unique, and her lack of exposure to public education is very concerning for me. We need an Education Secretary who has an understanding of the needs of all children, including those with disabilities, and is committed to ensuring they receive a quality education. Every child in West Virginia deserves a quality education, and I do not believe that Betsy DeVos is qualified to serve in this role, which is so vital to the future of our state.
Like you, I understand the importance of creating educational opportunities for students in West Virginia. We must work together to ensure that our students have access to the resources they need to excel including high quality instruction in the classroom that will prepare them for college or a career after graduation. We need to continue to improve our education system because our children and grandchildren deserve the best that we can offer.
Again, thank you for taking the time to add your voice to this important discussion. If I may be of further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
With warmest regards,
Joe Manchin III
Unites States Senator
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Dear Mr. ….,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. It was good to hear from you and I appreciate the opportunity to learn your views on this important matter.
As you may know, the Senate voted to confirm Besty DeVos as Secretary of Education on February 7, 2017 with my support. As my voting record indicates, I do not agree with Mrs. DeVos on every issue. However, I do believe she is a passionate advocate for children and learning, and she will work hard to improve education for all students across West Virginia and the nation.
Congress acted in a bipartisan way when it passed the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 to shift decision making authority away from federal officials in Washington and back to states, local officials, teachers and parents. I am confident Mrs. DeVos will keep the promise she made during the confirmation process to comply with this law. Mrs. DeVos has also provided assurances that she will not impose a school choice or voucher program on any state or school district, sharing my belief that such a mandate should not be required by the federal government.
In addition, Mrs. DeVos has indicated she shares my commitment to the enforcement of all federal laws which protect the rights of students with disabilities. These laws, most importantly the Individuals with Disability Act or IDEA, are essential in ensuring students with disabilities gain access to, and succeed in a high quality education system.
I strongly believe every child, regardless of where they attend school, deserves an excellent education. I am confident that Mrs. DeVos will work hard to make that promise a reality.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to hearing from you again soon and invite you to visit my website, http://www.capito.senate.gov, for further information and to sign up for my e-mail newsletter. It is an honor to serve you.
Shelley Moore Capito
United States Senator