On Capitol Hill, the Senate has confirmed billionaire Betsy DeVos for education secretary, after a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. DeVos’s nomination has sparked widespread outrage and resistance among education advocates, who are concerned DeVos will move to defund and privatize public education. DeVos is a longtime backer of charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools. She considers education an “industry,” and she’s called the public school system system “a dead end.” DeVos’s confirmation comes after Senate Democrats launched a 24-hour protest debate in efforts to stall the vote as they tried to find a third Republican senator to vote against her. On Tuesday in New York City, public school students who were walking out of class in protest against President Trump reacted to the confirmation of Betsy DeVos. This is high school student Tim Markbreiter.
Tim Markbreiter: “So, just now, actually, just a few minutes ago, there was a tie in the vote for Betsy DeVos, and so Mike Pence got the last vote, because of the tie, and she got confirmed, obviously, because of his conservative agenda, which—I mean, personally, I go to public school, and I think I value the education I get so much, and I’m just stunned that this country, after everything that’s going on and after all the division, that this billionaire woman, who never even went to a public school, got confirmed.”