Ahead of the Senate confirmation vote on Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, Interfaith Alliance president Rabbi Jack Moline issued the following statement:
“Betsy DeVos is on track to become the first cabinet nominee in history to require a tie-breaking vote by the Vice President to confirm her. This marks a stunning rebuke by the Senate and reveals a deep lack of confidence in DeVos’ ability to perform the duties of Secretary of Education.
“DeVos will take the helm of the Department of Education lacking any sort of mandate. We urge her to listen to the concerns of critics and warn her against advancing a narrow agenda. Her work as an activist and private citizen is one thing. She must now serve the interests of the American people, who overwhelmingly rely on the public school system to educate their children.
“President Trump’s nomination of DeVos suggests that he has little regard for our nation’s public schools and the constitutional principle of church and state separation. DeVos is a billionaire activist who has dedicated years of her life and vast sums of money to tearing down our nation’s public school system and replacing it with private, largely Christian and politically conservative, institutions funded with public dollars. Speaking at a Religious Right gathering in 2001, she said the goal of her education reform work was to ‘confront the culture in which we all live today’ and ‘advance God’s Kingdom.’
“The Senate confirmation process afforded DeVos with the opportunity to prove before the nation that she understands, and is committed to, public education and church-state separation. Instead, Americans saw a nominee with no direct experience with the public education system, little understanding of education policy and perceived or real financial conflicts of interest. What’s more, DeVos never stepped back from her goal of transferring vast sums of tax-payer dollars away from the public education system through voucher schemes. There is little difference between a public official using tax dollars for personal enrichment or to subsidize a personal agenda. Neither should ever happen.”
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.