By Roberto Rojas
On Tuesday, Feb. 7 Elizabeth DeVos, also known as Betsy, was confirmed as the Secretary of Education for President Donald Trump’s administration.
The confirmation of the Michigan-based Republican came after Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie between members of the Senate, according to the Associated Press.
DeVos became the first cabinet nominee confirmed with a tie vote in Senate history.
The appointment of the 11th overall United States Secretary of Education made her the first woman to become the head of the United States Department of Education since Margaret Spellings in 2005. She also became the third woman overall to hold the title ever since its inception in 1979, according to the Associated Press.
During the vote, all 50 Republican Party senators voted for DeVos while 46 Democrats, two Republicans and two Independent Party senators voted against her, according to the Associated Press.
“I am committed to working with everyone and anyone,” said DeVos in a press release following her appointment. “From every corner of the country, from every walk of life, from every background and with those who supported my nomination and those who did not — to protect, strengthen and create new world-class education opportunities for America’s students,” she said.
Following her appointment, she expressed through social media her reaction.
“I appreciate the Senate’s diligence and am honored to serve as the Secretary of Education,” said DeVos on her official Twitter account.
Her confirmation did spark controversy. Some felt DeVos wasn’t the ideal person to lead the education system due to her answers during her Senate hearing.
“Not only is she not qualified for the position, but she has also consistently undermined public education,” said sophomore Evan Denny. “That in itself could be a severe disconnect from the nation’s population.
Dr. Bill Yousman, the director of Media Literacy and Digital Culture Graduate Program at Sacred Heart University, is a strong critic of DeVos. He said that her inexperience, apathy and statements could be a major concern for various American families.
For some critics, DeVos lacks the experience and background in the education system that her predecessors have had, as well as her stances on helping private schools more than traditional public schools
“I think her appointment is something to be deeply concerned about,” said Yousman. “She has never worked in public schools, she never attended a public school, and she has never sent a child to public school. Furthermore, she supports policies that are hostile to public education. She supports taking funding for public schools and diverting it to private schools that are not accountable to the wider public.”
A video of her Senate hearing caught the attention of many.
“She seemed completely unprepared during her confirmation hearing and her comment during the hearing that schools should allow guns in order to protect students from grizzly bears was honestly strange and embarrassing, said Yousman. “The fact that her family made large donations to many of the Senators who voted for her is also troubling.”