Staff of the U.S. Education Department say rumors that secretary Betsy DeVos will be resigning her post are unfounded.
“The rumors are just that … rumors,” DeVos’s press secretary Elizabeth Hill reportedly said in an email statement, reports USA Today. “The Secretary has no plans of stepping down.”
DeVos has critics on both the left and the right, but Democrats who will soon control the House say they plan to call the secretary before key committees for questioning.
Democrats have long supported a strong federal education department that heavily funds public schools, holds them accountable to carry out the Party’s social justice agenda, and keeps the teacher union base content.
In a recent interview with the New American, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie (R) noted, “The left understands that this is where you win or lose – in the schools and in the teaching of the children.”
While DeVos has changed the focus of the department to school choice, she has not, however, fulfilled what the conservative/libertarian base of the Republican Party had viewed as Donald Trump’s plan to gradually dismantle the department. The Constitution does not give the federal government authority to decide education policy.
Additionally, DeVos has hired many education staffers with ties to her longstanding colleague, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who lost in the 2016 GOP primary race, in part, because of his advocacy for the Common Core standards. The secretary also recently appointed former Democrat Gov. Beverly Perdue of North Carolina, to head the National Assessment Governing Board. Like Bush, Perdue is a longtime champion of Common Core.
Among the issues Politico reported House Democrats will aggressively address with DeVos is the Trump administration’s “moves to stop state-led scrutiny of federal student loan servicers.”
The report observed that Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, “is expected to lead the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing education funding.” DeLauro had “clashed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over the issue earlier this year,” noted Politico.
Teachers’ unions are eager to have their newly elevated Democrat representatives interrogate DeVos.
The National Education Association (NEA) said in a statement after the midterm elections that Democrats are now “positioned to shift the balance of power in state capitals and the U.S. Congress, where victories will add a critical check on policies that have hurt students, their families and communities.”
“Lawmakers learned an important lesson … You can either work with educators to address the needs of students and public education, or they will work to elect someone who will,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García. “Candidates across the country witnessed unprecedented activism by educators in their races. Standing up for students and supporting public education were deciding factors for voters, and educators will hold lawmakers to their promises.”
Education Week also noted that, with Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott now about to take the helm of the House education committee, “increased oversight of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos” is a given.