Maui News

All-Night Talk-A-Thon Planned to Oppose Education Secretary Nomination

February 6, 2017, 3:13 PM HST
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US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) is among a list of Senators who will participate in an all-night talk-a-thon on the Senate floor to oppose Betsy DeVos’ nomination for Secretary of Education. The Senate is set to consider her nomination on Tuesday in what is expected to be a tight vote.

Tonight’s talk-a-thon begins at 2 a.m. ET/ 9 p.m. HST, and remarks will be streamed live here.

During a press briefing on Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended Devos’ nomination saying:

“Betsy DeVos, as I mentioned before, is an unbelievable champion of education — for children, for teachers, for parents.  I hope that that vote gets 60, 70 votes.  She is an unbelievable, remarkable woman who has fought very hard to improve our nation’s education system and to make sure that schools are serving children.  And I think that we are going to make sure we do everything we can, and we feel 100% confident that she will be confirmed Monday night and be the next Secretary of Education.”

Today on the Senate floor, Senator Mazie K. Hirono also shared messages from two Hawaiʻi educators opposed to DeVos’ nomination, saying, “It shouldn’t be asking too much to have an Education Secretary who will stand up for public schools and the millions of our children who attend public schools. That person is not Betsy DeVos.”


Hirono said that in the past few weeks, she’s heard from residents concerned about the nomination and shared letters addressed to her attention:


Dear Senator Hirono,

As a proud Hawaiʻi educator for 30 plus years, I’m deeply troubled by the possible appointment of Betsy DeVos to the position of US Secretary of Education.

Although I would personally never consider applying for a job I am not qualified to serve in, it’s baffling to me that our new Commander in Chief thinks someone who has NO experience as a teacher or administrator could be remotely prepared to lead our nation in this role.


I don’t have to explain to you what a selfless calling being a teacher is, nor do I believe our Hawaiʻi Delegation takes educating Hawaiʻi’s keiki lightly, so I implore you to work with other leaders in DC to make sure we have a suitable nominee for this essential position.


Sandy from Honolulu

“Sandy, and teachers like her, devote far more time and effort than is mandated to ensure that our public school students have a solid foundation in education and for life.  They deserve a better qualified, better experienced, better prepared, and more committed Secretary of Education than Betsy DeVos,” said Sen. Hirono.

She also shared a message from Lorelei, a middle school principal on Oʻahu.

Dear Senator Hirono,

As a strong supporter of public education, I ask that you oppose the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of the US Department of Education.

Educators and students deserve a secretary who can commit to supporting every student in all public schools, and a leader that will work tirelessly to promote a public education system that provides each child with the optimum conditions for teaching and learning.

Betsy DeVos’ past work in education and her performance at the recent confirmation hearing demonstrated neither a depth of experience nor knowledge base in education policy and on critical issues facing the community.

As a principal, I have spoken with teachers, parents, students, and community members across the political spectrum and there is widespread agreement that Betsy DeVos is not the right person for the job.

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