In one of the most shocking and discouraging developments of Donald Trump's presidency thus far (which, yes, is saying a lot), Betsy DeVos was confirmed today as education secretary with the help of a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. The nomination of DeVos -- a billionaire political donor from Michigan with no experience in public schools -- was met with outrage from millions of parents, educators, and politicians nationwide.
This was first time in history that a vice president was asked to break a tie on a cabinet nomination, and even members of Trump's own party went against him: Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted against DeVos, citing her inexperience and the thousands of messages they'd received speaking out against her nomination as reasons. Democrats held the floor overnight in protest of her confirmation; Senate offices received 1.5 million calls per day from DeVos's opponents.
A proponent of school choice, DeVos is an advocate for both charter schools and vouchers that allow students to use taxpayer dollars for tuition at for-profit schools (meaning less money for public schools, of course). Not only does DeVos apparently not understand the difference between student growth and proficiency or have familiarity with the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, but she also cited grizzly bears as a reason why a school might need to have a gun on the premises.
More from CafeMom: Teachers Explain Exactly Why Betsy DeVos Would Be a Disaster for Our Kids
And now we're forced to deal with the reality of having this radically unqualified individual in charge of our children's education. Unsurprisingly, many of us are more than a little upset (disgusted, infuriated, despondent) over this news; also unsurprisingly, many of us have taken to social media to express these feelings:
Megadonor Betsy #DeVos should have been the simplest "No" vote in the history of the cabinet. Congress is broken.— Karen Snyder Duke (@ksnyderduke) February 7, 2017
a terrible moment in US history to confirm such an incompetent person as #Devos a total rejection of logic or concern for education— Sandra Bernhard (@SandraBernhard) February 7, 2017
Betsy DeVos confirmed. What is also confirmed is that there is not one single man of courage in the Republican Congress.— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) February 7, 2017
Elementary math under Betsy Devos— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) February 7, 2017
Q: Ned and Sheryl each have 4 apples. Who has more apples?
A: Whomever Mike Pence decides has more apples.
Others are looking to the future with renewed vigilance:
This tweet echoes the frustrations of countless public school parents:
I have kids in the public school system. I am a product of the public school system. I am WAY more qualified than DeVos based on that alone— Keri ðï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ (@OneGoldenSun) February 7, 2017
Indeed, DeVos is so unqualified it would be funny if it weren't so sad:
Our Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. pic.twitter.com/qRj84VXTZ4— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) February 7, 2017
Many expressed an overwhelming concern for the next generation:
I'll never get to retire but Betsy DeVos ensures the next generation won't be qualified to take my job— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) February 7, 2017
wait I'm told they'll do it for free
Make America Stupid Again— beth can't with this (@bourgeoisalien) February 7, 2017
How did we get here? The numbers speak for themselves:
If you're scared about what this means for your child's education, you're certainly not alone. Our only choice now is to continue to stand together and fight this every step of the way -- and to make sure our kids are watching. Because clearly they're going to have to learn how to stand up for themselves, and everything that really matters.