One has to wonder why two Republican Senators, without any warning, would suddenly announce they’d oppose Betsy Devo’s nomination to be the Secretary of Education. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska both said they’d vote against Devos because she lacked the necessary experience to “strengthen public schools.”
Whatever that means.
I for one would like to see the Department of Education wind up in a dumpster where it belongs. It was created as a payoff to the teacher’s unions by Jimmy Carter and since its birth has done little to improve public education. Therefore, it seems to oppose Devos on her lack of work in public schools. What exactly has that done for the public school system over the last 37 years?
Perhaps it is time to let somebody without experience in the public education system to try something new. But that won’t happen as long as the teacher’s unions still a lot of power. Speaking of teachers unions, guess which two Senators have been getting donations from them.
Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.
This report from Bill McMorris at the Free Beacon spells it out:
Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) and Susan Collins (R., Maine) have each benefited from contributions from the National Education Association. Collins received $2,000 from the union in 2002 and 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Murkowski, meanwhile, has received $23,500.
The NEA represents 3 million members, making it the wealthiest and most influential union in the country. The NEA, along with other labor groups like the American Federation of Teachers, has waged a fierce campaign against DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist and school choice activist.
Teachers unions donate almost exclusively to Democrats. The NEA contributed $2.3 million to Democratic candidates in 2016, while Republican nominees received $350,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The top beneficiaries of union largesse have already voted against DeVos’ nomination at the committee level. The union donated $740,000 to the 11 Democratic members of that committee—all 11 attempted to prevent the nomination from reaching the Senate floor.
Murkowski received a 100 percent rating on a 2012 NEA Report Card, while Collins received a 75 percent rating—the only Republicans to earn marks above 50 percent from the group. Each senator has earned straight-A marks from the union since 2014.
Both will likely deny any influence from teachers unions, but both of them live in rural states and rely on every penny they can get for re-election purposes. I have no doubt the phones rang in their office with people representing those unions wanting to express their “concerns” about Devos.
Devos will likely still be confirmed, but it may come down to Vice-President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote in a 50-50 split. We’ll see what happens.