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We’re Listening…Even if Committee Democrats Aren’t

Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos believes that a great education:
  • shouldn’t be determined by where you live nor by who you know;
  • shouldn’t be determined by family income; and,
  • shouldn’t be an old-school, one-size-fits-all approach.
Secretary DeVos believes a great education grants freedom.

“This Administration focuses on freedom for teachers. Freedom for parents. And freedom for all students. Because we recognize each is a unique individual, and each should be treated as such. Every child should be free to learn where and how it works for them—where and how it unlocks their potential,” Secretary DeVos said in her opening statement.

But Committee Democrats probably didn’t even hear that. They weren’t listening.
In an oversight hearing to review the Department of Education’s policies and priorities, Committee Democrats used their question time to talk over, deride, berate, and lambaste Secretary DeVos for daring to take a different approach to education.

Democrats’ approach to education (more taxpayer dollars, more bureaucracy, more status quo) has yielded zero progress. Over the past four decades we have increased education spending by 180 percent, yet we’re simply treading water in international rankings. We’re still 24th in reading, 25th in science, and 40th in math. Nothing new there.

We need new approaches that grant students, teachers, and parents greater educational freedoms and opportunities. We need to press forward instead of holding students back.
“Students deserve an education that challenges them to reach higher and inspires them to be lifelong learners. Students deserve choices, and they have the best chance at lifelong success if they have access to expanded opportunities at every level of education,” Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said in her opening statement.

Across the country, we have a national skills gap of more than 7 million open jobs because there are not enough skilled workers to fill them. The Democrats’ status quo got us to this point, and students are desperate for new approaches that grant them greater opportunities and connect them with in-demand jobs.

So while Committee Democrats pontificated and interrupted Secretary DeVos close to 100 different times, Committee Republicans asked real, substantive questions about the Department’s priorities and what the Secretary is doing to provide students a high-quality, effective education.

“Accountability is asking an agency official a tough question and listening for the answer before declaring they’re wrong. It is not grilling the witness and talking over them the moment you don’t hear what you wanted to hear. My Democrat colleagues have tried for the better part of four hours to twist [Secretary DeVos’s] words out of context. After doing so, they did not allow [the Secretary] to respond and instead filled the time with what they wanted to hear,” Republican Leader Foxx said.

Republican Leader Foxx closed by telling Secretary DeVos, “I want to thank you for your commitment to implement policies in the best interest of students and taxpayers. You should know, as I hope you already know, that Republicans look forward to standing with you to protect students’ access to educational opportunities to make a better life for themselves, and I welcome our Democrat colleagues to make the same commitment.”
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