Senate Confirmation Speech Analysis

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The Senate Confirmation Hearing over Betsy DeVos and her possible position as Secretary of Education took place on January 17, 2017. In her opening remarks, DeVos made it quite clear that she does not believe traditional public schools are a good fit for every child. "Parents no longer believe that a one-size-fits-all model of learning meets the needs of every child," she said. "And they know other options exist, whether magnet, virtual, charter, home, faith-based or any other combination." (DeVos) The scripted speech and free response questions presented over the three hour time period allowed DeVos to showcase her political agenda and elaborate on various issues brought up by the committee such as her personal encouragement of voucher programs along with controversial donations made by her family both immediate and extended.
DeVos has long lobbied for states to allow parents to use public funding to pay for private school tuition. As secretary, she said, she would encourage states to create voucher programs - but try to not impose them. “I would hope I could convince you all of the
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In addition excessive water breaks while senators addressed her with their questions left the impression of disrespect and nervousness. The biggest stumble of the day came when Senator Tim Kaine asked DeVos whether or not schools that receive federal funding should have to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This act requires schools to address students’ special needs. She responded, “I think that’s a matter best left to the states.” (Devos) In a follow-up, when asked if she was aware that the IDEA was a federal law that she would need to enforce as education secretary, she admitted that she may have been confused and said federal laws must be
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