tv Education Secretary Nominee Betsy De Vos Testifies at Confirmation Hearing CSPAN February 6, 2017 8:32am-12:01pm EST
watch the senate live here on c-span2. >> now, the senate confirmation hearing for betsy devos, nominated to be the next education secretary. we begin with opening remarks from chair lamar alexander of tennessee, a former education secretary himself. this is three and a half hours. >> before my opening remarks, i'd like to make a word about process. more than 25 years ago, ms. devos, i was sitting where you sat, you are sitting. and as the nominee for u.s. secretary of education and former senator howard of ohio said to me, well, governor, i've heard some disturbing things about you, but i'm not going to bring them up here.
and in 2009 and 2016 for president obama is education secretary nominees, so we will consider you and then vote. just as we did then. arne duncan, president obama is first education secretary, the hearing was on the 13th of january. he was confirmed in a week later. john king, the hearing was on february 25 and he was confirmed two and a half weeks later. we received from ms. devos, and each senator has had available since january 4th, the committees required forms.
the rules require them to be in more than a week in advance. the fbi background check has been done and we have heard the results. ms. devo thomas has provided the office of government ethics on december 12 of all relevant information about her financial affairs. we'll have a letter from the office on how come which will be an agreement between ms. devos and the office. i had to deal with any conflicts of interest before we vote in committee on her nomination. as for questions, ms. devos has met with each of us in our offices. several of us have written questions already given to her. today we will each have five minutes for further questions. again i'm applying the golden rule. one round of five-minute questions as was the case about the president obama's education nominees, the case for me, to come in 1991. in those cases following the
five-minute round the chairman and one member asked additional questions, and we will do that again as we did before. i'll ask questions and i will ask senator murray if she would like to do the same. each of us will have a chance to ask additional questions in a reasonable number in writing. by the close of business on thursday at five p.m. and then will meet in executive session next tuesday to consider ms. devos' other nomination and other business. if the final of the seven government, final office of government ethics letters received by this friday in order to give senators a chance to review it before tuesday. now, following my opening remarks, senator murray will make hers and then we'll hear from senator scott and senator lieberman, and then we'll hear from ms. devos. betsy devos in my opinion is on our children's side.
she has devoted her life to helping mainly low income children have better choices at schools. most of the criticism i've heard other amounts to three things. one, she supports public charter schools. two, she supports giving low income parents for choices of school for their children. and three, she has used her considerable wealth and effectiveness to advance those ideas. i believe she is in the mainstream of public opinion and her critics are not. first, let's take the idea of charter schools. they are public schools with fewer government rules, fewer union rules. the teachers have more freedom to teach and parents have more freedom to choose the school that best suits their child. nothing new about it. in 1991 and 92, president hw bush proposed start from scratch schools. he called a new american schools. schools. he raised $70 million for new
american schools development corporation to encourage innovative ideas. then in 1993 in january in my last act as president bush's education secretary i wrote every single superintendent in the country and asked them to try something that was invented in minnesota by the democratic farmer labour party comes something called charter schools. there were 12 of them then. since then there is been broad support for the idea. albert shanker, the late head of a confederation of teachers, endorsendorsed those charter sc. in 1977 -- 97, president clinton said we need to 3000 charter schools by 2002. senator hillary clinton supporter charter schools. president george w. bush supported charter schools. president obama supports charter schools. his first education secretary arne duncan described himself as a quote strong supporter of charter schools. john king the current education secretary founded a charter school and ran a system of
charter schools. congress in 1994, 98, 2001, 2015 always bipartisan one, 2015 always bipartisan usually by huge margins supported charter schools. 43 states and the district of columbia operate charter schools. so over nearly 30 years those 12 democratic farmer labor charter schools in minnesota have grown to 6800 public charter schools come 6% of america's public school students attending. so who's in the mainstream here collects the democratic farmer labour party in minnesota? presidents bush, clinton, bush, obama, ls six u.s. education secretaries, u.s. congress, 43 states, the district of columbia, betsy devos or her critics? i think pretty obviously she is in the mainstream pixies on the side of our children. let's go to the other criticism. giving low income parents more choices of schools that wealthy americans already have.
more specifically, the objection is that public money should not follow poor children to an accredited school of their parents choice, public, private or religious. arguing against that is arguing against the most successful social policy this congress has ever enacted. the g.i. bill for veterans. which appropriated federal dollars to follow veterans to the school of their choice, notre dame, maryville college, university of tennessee, any accredited institution. it produced the greatest generation. and it produced a model for all of our federal aid for colleges, $29 billion of pell grants this year are in vouchers. they followed the student to the school of their choice. nearly 100,000,000,000 in new student loans follow the student to the school of their choice. why is such a great idea for college students deemed to be such a dangerous idea for k-12 students? many of us believe competition produces the best colleges, and it might produce the best
schools. many scholars have suggested that distinguish educator suggested a poor kids bill of rights four years ago. today 50 states provide parents more choices of public schools, 15% attend a school other than their school of residents through open enrollment. 44 states are are sending children to public schools outside the district. 34 states within thei the distr. in addition to that nearly 400,000 children are served by 50 private school choice programs across 25 states, the district of columbia and douglas county, colorado. congress passed bipartisan legislation with senator lieberman at the head of it creating the d.c. school voucher program in 2003, today helping 6100 children, more than 1000 children this you're standing 1000 children this you're standing in line waiting for that opportunity. so it is been going support since president h. w. bush proposed the g.i. bill for kids,
until states who want to try expanding choice for low income students to today, where 2015, 4545 nice state senators supported scholarships for kids that i propose and then senator scott proposed for students with disabilities 45 united states senators thought that was a good idea. according to the 2013 lunch global public opinion survey, 73% of americans support school choice. 6464% say if given the financial opportunity, they would send one or all of their children to different school. so who is in the mainstream here? the g.i. bill for veterans, pell grants, student loans, both president bush, the president-elect, 25 states, congress and the d.c. voucher program, 45 your senators in 2015, 73% of americans can, betsy devos, or her critics? pretty obvious she is in the mainstream. she's on the side of our children. the fighter criticism is she has used her wealth to support these ideas.
i think she deserves credit for that, not criticism. with the critics be happier if she spent her time at trying to deny children more choices of schools that wealthy families already have? we're fortunate betsy devos is at the nominee for u.s. education secretary. she is and has been on our children's side. i support her confirmation and look forward to working with her. senator murray. >> thank you very much, chairman alexander. i look forward to working with you and all of our colleagues in congress. i want to welcome our new members on this committee. and thank you, ms. devos, for joints are today. and by the way, welcome to the rest of your family who i know has joined you as well. this is the first of many hearings that we will be holding on president-elect trump's nominees to fill critical positions in the federal government, so want to start by reiterating the importance of the senates role in this process and this committees role in the
senate work. president trump has the right to feel this cabinet with people he thinks will follow the vision for our country, but that doesn't mean the senate should be a rubber stamp. to the contrary, we owe it to the people we represent to make sure every nominee is not only qualified for the position and free of conflict of interest, but that he or she will put families and workers first and not millionaires, billionaires or big corporations. president-elect trump was the first presidential candidate in decades to not release his tax returns and is openly flouting ethics conventions regarding his personal and family businesses. some people say this means the bar has now been lowered for ethics in public service. i refuse to accept that and are going to continue to hold incoming administration to the highest ethical standards. this is what the american people deserve, regardless of who they
voted for, where their tax dollars are going, and who is benefiting. i believe in and administration or lines of a potential conflicts of interest are very likely to be blurred at the top, they need to be even clear at the individual agencies, even while we in congress wor were to ensure the highest ethical standards are maintained, and there is accountability to taxpayers from the top of the government all the way down. so i'm going to continue pushing for robust scrutiny of every one of these nominees, and i appreciate ms. devos has said commissioners importance of transparency and openness purchase committed to addressing every ethical concern and make sure no corners are cut, and that she would go to great lengths to make sure no corners are cut. however, i am extremely disappointed that we are moving forward with this hearing before receiving the proper paperwork from the office of government ethics.
when president obama entered the white house, republicans insisted on having an ethics letter in hand before moving to a hearing. in fact, leader mcconnell wrote a letter to leader reid making that explicit demand, an ethics letter in hand with time to review and an fbi background check before a hearing was held. so i am extremely concerned and i can only hope that cutting corners and rushing nominees through will not be the new norm. we are here today to her from present electrons nominee to lead the department of education. as a former preschool teacher and school board member, as well as a mother got her start in politics fighting for public investment in early learning, i take this issue very seriously. i owe everything i have two strong public school. i was able to attend with my six brothers and sisters. and none of us in my family would've been able to go to college were it not for robust federal support.
we had those opportunities because our government was committed to investing in us, but i know that's not the case for every student in every community today. so although we have a long way to go, i am absolutely committed to making sure that the federal government is a strong partner to our public school, districts and states, that every student has access to a high quality public education, that allows them to succeed. and we focus our federal policies and investments on strengthening public schools for all students. and certainly not towards averting taxpayer dollars to spend vouchers that don't work for unaccountable private schools. that is why i was so proud to work with chairman alexander and so many others here today to past every student succeeds act which gives flexibility to states and school districts, it also includes strong accountability for our schools
and reiterates our nation's commitment to strengthening public education, especially for our most vulnerable students and communities. this commitment goes beyond k-12 of course because of the federal government, in general, and the department of education, specifically, has an important role to play in supporting, protecting and investing in all of our students, from our youngest learners to those in higher education, and adults and parents seeking to improve their skills midcareer. so leading this agency is a big job. it is an important job. i consider it to be my job to do everything i can to make sure whoever fills it is truly committed to putting students and families first. so ms. devos, i'm looking forward to hearing your answers to some questions since i have a number of very serious concerns that need to be addressed. first, i'm going to want to learn more about your extensive financial entanglements and potential comics of interest.
as a billionaire with hundreds if not thousands of investments made through complex financial instruments, many of which are made in ways that are not transparent and very hard to track, you need to make it clear how you will be avoiding topics of interest, should you be confirmed. that goes for your investments as well as the massive web of investments made by your immediate family. despite starting off on the wrong track i not having an ethics letter complete before the scene today, i appreciate what you're doing to provide this committee information to understand how you intend to live up to the highest level of ethics and transparency. so far you've not accepted a call to release three years of tax returns, but hoping you reconsider that approach and you are cooperating fully with the office of government ethics. second, i have major concerns without you spent your career and fortune fighting to privatize public education and get investments in public schools. i have had some specific
questions about how the privatization policies you have pushed have impacted students, and how you intend use the public trust and taxpayer dollars to support public education and not continue to undermine schools and teachers from inside the department as you have as an advocate from the outside. i will want to know more about the large contributions you have major groups of that are ideologically opposed to workers, including teachers, and want to impose anti-lgbt or anti-women's health belief on public schools, and the students in them. i want to make sure you publicly commit to implementing our every student succeeds act by upholding the strong federal guardrails that are in that law. and i will want to know how you plan to tackle the persistent achievement gap. third, while you've been outspoken on k-12 issues, the record and positions are not clear and a number of critical areas. i want to learn more about how you plan to approach higher education, and whether or not we
can count on you to stand with the students and borrowers. i'm very interested in your thoughts on title ix and how we can do everything possible to stop the scourge of campus sexual assault. i was not happy with how you talked about this issue when we met. i'm hopeful you've learned more about it since then and are prepared to address it seriously. i'm going to want to know how your personal religious and ideological views on women's health and safety would impact how you would approach this issue in the department. i'm very concerned with what is been reported in the press about your views on the importance of the office of civil rights, which works to ensure students with disabilities, lgbtq students, religious minorities, women and girls, students of color, and all persons are treated with dignity and respect, and in going to want to know more about how you will enforce critical civil rights laws. as all of my colleagues here know, i have a particular passion for early learning. i want to hear what you stand on how the federal government can
help ensure that every child is prepared for success in kindergarten. those are just a few of the issues, so i am looking forward to a robust dialogue tonight. i'm hoping you are transparent about your views, open about your record and the impact it is at an students and wanted to make some straightforward commitments regarding the court responsibilities of this department and the role you hope to take any. i will be asking you to commit to providing this to me with additional information and responsive to all reasonable follow-up questions as quickly as possible. i'm hopeful that this can be a smooth process. but mr. chairman, i know my members are all here tonight, they are hoping for more than just five minutes of questions on this critical nominee, and i hope as we get through this you will consider doing that. >> thank you, senator murray. i'm going to follow the golden rule. i'm not going to change the rules that apply to ms. devos rules that we haven't applied to president obama and his nominees or to president bush's nominees.
so we will have a five-minute round of questions. you and i can ask questions after that for another five minutes. that's exactly what we've done before. members of this committee have met with ms. devos. some of all asked written questions. we will have two days to think of more, and then she would them before we vote. as far as tax returns are concerned, if you would like to bring that up we can bring that up at our next executive session, which would be the 24th. if her government ethics letter is completed by friday, i would note committee rules don't require tax returns to be reported by presidential nominees. the law does not. we did not require it of president obama is to nominees for education secretary. if you want to change the rules we can do that but i'm not in favor of changing the rules in the middle of the process.
>> mr. chairman, may i ask a point of order? >> what is your point of order? >> i believe we got a second round with a junking hearings. i asked to read the questions in that case. >> you did and i did, and each of the john king, in the last two nominees, mr. duncan and mr. king, we had a five-minute round and then the chairman and one senator, what other senator asked five minutes of questions. so i will ask five minutes of questions and i will give to senator murray the opportunity to be a person who does that. >> i would just a nobody asked for additional time at that point, so i hope as we get to this hearing we have members question, we'll have an opportunity to revisit -- >> i appreciate your request but am not going to change the rules in the middle of the game. >> i was not aware those rules. >> that is the president we followed as far back as 1991 when i was the education secretary. we did for both the president
obama is and will do the same thing for ms. devos. >> i wasn't aware there was a precedent. spirit that's as clear as i can think of. >> i would also like to have 36 letter signed by 133 organizations expressing concern or opposition to this nomination to be placed in the record. >> they will be. we welcome the nominee, ms. devos, to the ring and we welcome your husband and her daughters, your son or daughter law and her son-in-law. we welcome all of our other guests here. ms. devos will be introduced by senator tim scott, a member of this committee, a strong champion for education and that should be introduced by senator joe lieberman who served here for 24 years, representing representing connecticut until he retired in january 2013. thank you both for joining us. i've already said what i have to say about ms. devos. i think should be an excellent secretary of education. so i think we should move ahead
with senator scott introduction. you may then turn it over to senator lieberman, then we'll hear from ms. devos and then we will begin our questions. senator scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will note i am surprised the number of folks, photographers, who showed up to hear senator lieberman introduction. so very well done, senator lieberman. i've known the devos family for about three decades. i started learning how to sell when i was in college and it was a part of one of the devos companies i learned how to sell, so i'm very thankful that a champion of public education, a champion of education, specifically a champion of education for poor kids sits to my left. i will recall my own upbringing as a poor kid who by the time i was in the fourth grade attended four different schools. it's really important for us to
recognize the powerful impact that education has specifically on poor kids. i am excited about this transition, looking for to the opportunity to have a betsy devos as our champion for all children are all education, specifically for what i consider high potential kids, others call at risk kids. for the last 28 years ms. devos has been a champion for those kids, a lifelong resident of michigan she attended calvin college in grand rapids, michigan. ms. devos is a businesswoman and an entrepreneur. she's a chairman of the american federation for children and the windquest group for those of you who may not know this, she had a humble beginning. our parents mortgaged everything they had, everything they had to start a small auto-parts business. she still remembers when she was seven years old helping her
father paint a cinderblock building that became the office and the first manufacturing and location, believe that color was steel blue. during the summer months when she was in college, betsy worked a third shift at our families business. she understands the sacrifices that families have to make in order to build a better life for themselves and for their children. she has successively advocated for expansion of education opportunity in dozens and dozens of states. she also helped her husband launch a charter school in grand rapids, michigan, which is now one of the highest performing charter schools in her home state. i've been to that school, way before there was any idea that she might one day city before this committee, way before we ever assumed there would be a trump candidacy.
several years ago i visited the aviation high school and had a chance to to sit at lunch and talk with the kids, understand and appreciate their hunger for education was stirred by the devos family. stirred by the devos families commitment to public education at this charter high school. she is motivated by making sure students go to safe and high-performing schools, whether they are public, private, charter, traditional or nontraditional schools. she understands the need to focus on accountability, not just to have a system in place, but to actually hold schools accountable for the results may have. what she supports is holding all schools accountable, whether they are traditional public schools or charter schools.
bless you. ms. devos is clearly not opposed to accountability. what she is supposed to is holding some schools accountable but not all schools. what she is supposed to is leaving children trapped in schools that we know, we know are failing. failing the very students that will have no hope if they do not receive a high quality education. bless you. only one more left. parents and students could not ask for a better role model or a more thoughtful leader to move the education system into the 21st century. betsy cares. she questions. she considers. and then and only then will she act. these are the traits of a leader
and i do work. i look forward to supporting her nomination throughout the next few weeks. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator scott. standard lieberman, welcome. >> thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member murray, members of the committee and a special hello to chris murphy, my friend and successor from connecticut. it's great to be back in the senate today to introduce that the devos for your consideration as the next secretary of education. i met betty several years ago in one of the many bipartisan efforts to improve the quality of education of america's children that she and so many others of you have been involved in. when i left the senate as a way to continue my own work on education reform, i became a member of the board of the american federation for children, the nonprofit organization that betsy devos
founded, to provide better education options for low income children throughout america. i'm very proud of what the afc has achieved, particularly at the state level. more than 400,000 low income families have been empowered with financial support to take their children out to schools where they thought were not getting an adequate education, and put them into schools that they thought were better. for me as a democrat it is especially gratifying that many of these afc state programs have been enacted with bipartisan support in state legislatures. none of the park us which the afc has achieved, very specifically for those 400,000 plus kids, would have occurred without her leadership, which is inclusive and motivating.
she is disciplined, organize, as a set of goals and develop practical plans to achieve them. she is really a purpose driven team builder, that i've seen in my membership of the board of the afc. i understand the department of education is bigger than anything she, for that matter,, most any of us, except for senator alexander of course, has ever led. but everything i've seen tells me that betsy is ready to take on this assignment and doing dot very well. i know that some people are questioning her qualifications to be secretary of education. and to many of those questions to me seeme seem to be based one fact that she doesn't come from a within the education establishment, but honestly, i
believe that today that's one of the most important qualifications you could have for this job. she has many others. she's a mother and grandmother. she cares about children more generally and has been involved in education like so many parents and local citizens school board members across america, for almost 30 years. her involvement has not just been as a philanthropist and advocate for reform, though she has been a real leader in both. she also mentors and students in the public schools of grand rapids, michigan. here's another important qualifications i think betsy as for this job. she will ask the right questions, such as is this federal education program working? is a giving our kids the education they need to live productive and satisfying lives? if not, how can we improve it?
an examination of the facts of the state of american education today makes clear that although current federal education programs are working for many of our children, they are failing millions of others. and here are just a few of the salient and to me, troubling facts. among all students of all income groups, less than 40% of high school graduates are college or career ready, according to the act. a recent report said that only 35% of eighth graders were proficient on the naep reading exam, and only 34% on the math exam. in other words, about two-thirds of eighth graders in our country are not proficient in reading and math, proficient is the middle, as the members of the
committee know, the middle ranking under the naep. among low income students, the way of the shortcomings -- the weight of the shortcomings in the educational status quo falls disproportionately heavily. there are too many ways to illustrate this, let me just give this one example. there are more than 1200 high schools in america who have more than 1.1 million students that fail to graduate from high school at least one-third of the students. some as many as more than half the students don't make it to high school graduation. and he schools primarily educate low income students and students of color. these low graduation rate high schools are located in both urban and rural areas, and they
are in almost every state. new york has 199 of them. georgia 115. california 105. 105. alabama and mississippi each more than 50. these are jarring numbers and i think they cry out for national education reform. we are just not keeping our founders promise of equal opportunity. we are not preparing the next generation of americans to enable our economy to compete successfully in the world. we just can't accept the status quo in education anymore. we need a change agent and an education reformer to be education secretary. a leader who has one big goal, which is to give every child in america, regardless of family income or zip code, a first-class education. and that is exactly the kind of
education secretary i believe betsy devos can and will be. now, because betsy has been fighting for reform and disrupting the status quo for so long, her nomination is naturally controversial. after all, she has directly challenge the education establishment by supporting charter schools and other school choice programs, but i can tell you that in all my work with her i have never heard betsy speak against our public school system. i have heard her ask what we can do for the low income kids who are trapped in that public schools. until we can make more of our public schools as good as they should be. is it fair to stand back and not help the parents who want better for their children, but can't get it just because they can't afford it? is it acceptable to have so many children from all income groups
graduate from our high schools unprepared for college and the high-tech economy they will enter? no, it is not, and that's why, mr. chairman,, senator murray and members of the committee, i hope you will confirm betsy devos to be secretary of education. i think it's in our national interest to give her a chance to change the status quo in our schools and secure a better future for our country and for all of our children. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator lieberman. thank you for coming back. before i introduce a welcome msr into the record 97 letters of support for ms. devos for education secretary from a variety of school groups, former education secretaries, governors, business groups and others. ms. devos. >> thank you, chairman alexander, ranking member
murray, senators. thank you for the opportunity to be with you this afternoon. thank you, senator scott and send it lieberman for the very kind words of introduction. i honor and applaud your lifelong dedication to the success of our nation's students and your fine public service. i want to begin by thanking my family for the support. many of them seating -- seated behind me. except for my five grandchildren, the oldest of which is five, so it was not advisable that they join us today. but i am very honored that president-elect trump is asked to me to join his team, and i'm grateful for his dedication to education. if confirmed, i look forward to working with him, vice president mike pence, and all of you to bring educational opportunity to every family in this great nation. while we may have differences, i think we can all agree that learning is a lifelong pursuit is a fundamental american
virtue. we are blessed beyond measure with educators who pour themselves into students. the schools in which they work are as diverse as the students they educate you can fact, all of us here and our children have attended a mix of traditional publicly funded and private schools. this is a reflection of the diversity that is today's public education. growing up in holland, michigan, i attended a local christian schools and then calvin college amy greatest educational influence in life was a public school teacher named elsa prince. while her students call her mrst call her mom. when dick and i became parents can education took on a whole new meaning. we recognized that other parents were not able to make similar decisions about their children's education based on their income or the zip code in which they lived. when our oldest reach school age
we visited the potter's house, a christian school which serves me know income families in my hometown. we saw the struggles and sacrifices of these families faced when trying to choose the best educational option for their children. for me, this is not just an issue of public policy, but of national injustice. i committed to do something about it and it's become my lights work. i applaud the great work of the potter's house and its cofounder john booy it was here with us today. he and his team of teachers are doing a great job, but here's the sad reality. in the past 28 years, the need and demand for these other options have grown unabated. i sure present electrons view that it is time to shift the debate from what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve. parents no longer believe that a one size fits all model of learning meets the needs of every child, and they know other
options exist. whether magnet, virtual, charter, home, faith-based or any other combination, yet too many parents are denied access to the full range of options, choices that many of us here in this room have exercise for our own children. why in 2017 are we still questioning parents ability to exercise educational choice for their children? i am a firm believer parents should be empowered to choose the learning environment that's best for each of their individual children. the vast majority of students in this country will continue to attend public schools. if confirmed, i will be a strong advocate for great public schools. but if a school is troubled or unsafe or not a good fit for a child, perhaps they have a special need that is going unmet, we should support a parents right to enroll their child and high-quality alternative. it's really pretty simple.
every child in america deserves to be in a safe environment that's freeform discrimination. every student in america dreams and developing his or her unique talents and gifts pick every parent in america dreams of a future when their children have access to schools with the rigor, challenges and safe environment that successfully prepare them for a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow. and every teacher in america dreams of breaking free from standardization so that they can deploy their unique creativity and innovate with her students. our nation's schools are filled with talented, devoted professionals who successfully meet the needs of many, many children. i'd even our best schools don't work for all. this isn't the fault of teachers but a reality that all students are unique, learn differently, and excel at their own pace. students also face new challenges today. in particular, are high school
graduates are having increasing difficulty accessing affordable higher education. escalating tuition is pricing talented students out of college. others are burdened with debt that will take years or even decades to pay off. there is no magic wand to make the debt go away, but we do need to take action. it would be a mistake to shift of that burden to struggling taxpayers without first addressing why tuition has gotten so high. for starters, we need to embrace new pathways of learning. for too long a college degree has been pushed as the only avenue for a better life. the old and expensive brick mortar and iv model is not the only one that will lead to a prosperous future. craftsmanship is not a fallback, but a noble pursuit. students should make informed choices about what type of education they want to pursue
post-high school and have access to high-quality option. president-elect trump and i agree we need to support all postsecondary avenues, including trade and vocational schools and community colleges. of course on every one of these issues, congress will play a vital role. if confirmed, i look forward to working with you to enact solutions that empower parents and students, provide high-quality options and spend tax dollars wisely. we will work together to ensure the every student succeeds act is implemented as congress intended, with a local communities freed from burdensome regulation from washington. and i look for to working with congress and all stakeholders to reauthorize the higher education act to meet the needs of today's college students. president-elect trump and i know it won't be washington, d.c. that unlocks our nation's potential, you're a bigger bureaucracy, tougher mandates or a federal agency. the answer is local control and listening to parents, students and teachers.
for nearly three decades i've been involved in education as a volunteer, and advocate for children, and a voice for parents. i have worked as an in school mentor for students in the grand rapids public schools, and had the privilege of interacting with students and their families and teachers in ways that a changed my life and my perspective about education forever. i have worked with governors, legislators and business and community leaders to expand education opportunity to options that are making a lifetime of difference for hundreds of thousands of kids this year alone. and i've worked with many dedicated teachers who strive every day to help students achieve, fulfill their potential, and prepare them for the global challenges they will face. for me it's simple. i trust parents and i believe in our children. thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. bostic will now begin around of five-minute
questions. i'm going to defer my questions until later so we will begin with senator enzi and then to senator murray. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ms. devos. i want to welcome you here, and thank you for being willing to take on this kind of a project and to appear before us. i enjoyed our meeting last month and look forward to working with you as we consider your nomination, and then after that. you are going to be dealing with a great variety of states, from high population total population. i happen to come from the lowest population state. it has some special challenges in education, call it rural and frontier challenges. we don't allow a child to travel by more than an hour by bus to or from school. and as a result with some schools that have one or two students. it's a little different situation than was even in
patient with no child left behind, so i'm glad we have a change to essa. the federal government, there was a quality counts 2017 report, and i'm pleased wyoming was ranked number seven out of the 50 states in that, and in the area financing education, we were number one. and that comes at a time when our state is going to some economical suffering because of the obama administrations war on coal and fossil fuels and hard-working families that support those industries. but rural frontier has some special problems, part of them are that the submission of some of the applications and some of the applicable reports have no bearing on what we are doing. and that's important when we
have the real aspect as well as the wind ever river reservation which has the home of two tribes. in every student succeeds act, there are provisions to permit the secretary to reduce the departments workforce. with the return of education authority to the states and the elimination of federal programs it's important that workforce be reduced to ensure more education funding is provided to the schools and not kept in washington. also, i am troubled by the government accountability office report that was issued at my request last november that showed the cost projections for the income driven college alone repayment program are tens of billions of dollars higher than the original estimate. this estimates were based on data and accounting methods that were deeply flawed. you will inherit that and the current department of education
data lacked transparency, omitted key information, meet other flawed assumptions. as an account i was appalled. then there's the career and technical education you mention. i appreciate your emphasis on the value of craftsmanship and also technology. i just saw the movie hidden figures that introduced people to computers and the value of women in the workplace, in nasa, to get them into space. i have one-sixth of my schools that don't participate in perkins career technical education funny because although population gives them such a low amount of funding, it isn't worth doing it, and that needs to change. so ms. devos, one of the most important jobs you have is the implementation of every student succeeds act. i'm pleased with what you said
about it. can you talk about your plans to engage world in front your states and communities in that process? >> senator, thank you. thank you for that question, and i, too, enjoyed our meeting in your office. i quickly enjoyed hearing a little bit about the special needs of schools like this school but has a grizzly bear fence surrounding it. i think that is a unique need to wyoming, certainly. but certainly rural schools and rural settings require different approaches and different options, and so i refer to the everything succeeds act, and i i think the implementation of that and the wyoming's plan for that will be particularly important to recognize the unique, the unique needs of the rural population that you have as will many of the other states represented here in the committee. when we think about the future, i think about the opportunity
for more choices and options for those parents at a distance learning type of situation, and the possibility that, you know, course choices or online courses could be offered in a way that may not have been previously. i would, if confirmed, look forward to working with you and some of your other colleagues that face the same types of charges such as senator collins and senator murkowski, and work with you to address the specific needs of rural communities and high rural population states. >> thank you. look forward to working with y you. >> thank you, senator in c. senator murray. >> mr. chairman, it is your committee. if you want to go first. >> no, i'm going, thank you for the courtesy. i'm going to go a little later. thank you. >> ms. devos, i really am troubled by some of the comments and things you said about public education and how you see the role of the department you have
been nominated to lead now. so my first question for you really is yes or no, that's only what is a yes or no. do you believe that the mission of the department of education should be that strengthen public education for all of our students? >> yes, i do. >> good. so can you commit to us tonight you will not work to privatize public schools are cut a single penny from public education? >> senator, thanks for that question. i look forward, if confirmed, to working with you to talk about how we address the needs of all parents and all students. and we acknowledge today that not all schools are working for the students that are assigned to them. and i'm hopeful that we can work together to find common ground in ways that we can solve those issues and empower parents to make choices on behalf of their children that are right for them. >> i take that as not being willing to commit to not privatizing public schools or
cutting money from education. i guess i wouldn't characterize it in that way. >> well, okay. let me ask you about conflict of interest. president-elect trump thinks he can resolve his financial complex by having his family manage his interest while he is in office. do you think it's okay for family members to profit off of companies that are directly impacted by the decisions you make, if confirmed speakers no, i do not speak we do know from press reports you and your family have invested in what you call the education industry. that includes investment in a student loan refinancing company and k-12 ink which is a chain of for-profit online charter schools. you told of this committee you would sever ties with your family businesses if confirmed that you also said you intend to return to these businesses owned by your family when you leave public service. so how is that different from president-elect trump's arrangement? >> senator, first of all let me be very clear about any
conflicts. where complex are identified, they will be resolved. i will not be conflicted, period. i commit that to you all. and with respect to the specific ones that you cited, one of them we were aware of as we entered the process, and that is in the process of being divested. if there are any others that are identified, they will be appropriately divested as well. >> from your answer i assume you and your family intend to forego all investments in education companies from now on? >> anything that is deemed to be a conflict will not be, yes, will not be a part of our investing. >> how do you intend to convince this committee that no entity will feel pressure to purchase, partner or contract with corporate or noncorporate -- profit entities should you be confirmed as secretary? >> i can commit to you that nobody will feel any pressure like a spin as you know this
committee has not received your required paperwork from the office of government ethics, and they've told me they cannot provide me assurance right now that your conflict of interest have been identified and resolved by the office. so again would you be providing this committee with three years of tax returns that we've requested? >> senator, i provided the committee with everything that's been requested and required of the committee, and, frankly,, i'm very proud of the team that is working very hard on my behalf to get all of this together. and i know that the oge is working very hard to work through my and others' confirmation processes as well as is the department. i'm very hopeful that we will get this resolved and to a point of here very -- >> site we do not have your ethics paperwork connected with not that chance to look at it. we have not had a chance know whether we have additional questions. would you commit to coming back before this committee once we
have that from the oge so we can ask additional questions? >> i commit to making sure we have ethics, and ethics agreement resolved and reached. >> well, i hope that we have a chance, mr. chairman, if we have questions to be able to follow up on that. i just have a few seconds left. you have vast wealth, obviously, and you've used it as you said yourself to influence the political system and elect candidates who support your ideological agenda. if you are confirmed i want to know if you believe it's appropriate for you and your family to continue to use this wealth to pressure state, local and federal candidates to support your agenda? >> senator, if i am confirmed on as you know i will not be involved and engage in political contributions, and my husband will not be either. >> okay. thank yothank you very much. i appreciate that. >> thank you, senator murray. senator burr has deferred to
senator isakson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ms. devos, to your commitment to stay, to your education, and congratulations on your nomination. i've a statement i would like to ask three questions in regard to that statement. this committee established a task force and calvin regular and identified 15 at specific burdens regulations that engaged public education, by merely higher education. of the 59 recommendations, 12 are totally at the office of the secretary of education. they can be invalidated or changed immediately. in 2015 senator bennet, senator king, booker, senator burr and muscle and it is the bill to identify the application process applicants fill out. university of georgia, amber universe and georgia tech, three well-known institutions in my state have all said this is a priority for them to move forward and simple by the process for getting our kids of the best education they can get. my question is would you commit to working with our office to
advance the recommendations of the task force on higher education? >> thanks for that question. i am aware of this task force report and it sounds like the direction that it's taken is very promising, and tonight i look forward to working with you and others have been working on this to implement the things that are deemed appropriate to be done. >> will you work with us and commit to us you will work with us to admit those items identified by the task force that the secretary currently has the authority to change? meaning this will not be another government report that goes on the shelf? >> you have my commitment on that. >> will you work with this committee to simplify the application for federal financial aid to reduce the burden of aggravation families take on each of us and college? >> indeed i will. i know that's been a very burdensome process and application to, in fact, i recall chairman alexander's
actually unfolding the entire length of it. it's a very long process and i would look forward to working with you. >> 104 questions if i remember correctly, mr. chairman, 104 questions. the committee came up with a two-page, for question application. >> let me just say i don't think we should make it any more difficult than actually necessary for students to be able to further education. >> right answer. it is mr. booy or? >> he is indeed. right here. >> could you stand up, please? i just want to thank you for what you have done to show the kind of leadership we need to a people who otherwise don't get any help, aren't getting any help and may be discarded their life disposal. you have done a great job with potters house. appreciate what you've done very much. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you spinning that brings me to this point. senator murray was talking about privatizing schools and talking about the importance of the lack
parent household and not every kid lives in an apartment. we have to get programs necessary to train our kids to do their jobs in the 21st century and different times. congratulations on your nomination. i have that, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. thanks for being with us and thanks for dropping in to the office. mrs. devos, there is a growing fear in this country that we are moving towards what was done with colin oligarchic form of society were a small number of very, very multibillionaires control to a significant degree of economic and political life. would you be so kind as to tell us how much money your family has contributed to the republican party over the years? >> senator, first of all, thank you for that question. again, i was pleased to meet you in your office last week.
i wish i could give you that number. i don't know. >> i've heard the number was 200 million. does that sound in the ballpark? >> collectively over my entire family? that's possible. >> my question is in a domain to be rude, do you think if you were not a multibillionaire, if your family have made hundreds of billions of dollars of contributions to the republican party that you would be sitting here today? >> senator come as a matter of fact they do think there would be that possibility. i worked hard on behalf of parents and children for the last 30 years to be a voice on behalf of their children. primarily low-income children. >> in your statement from your prepared statement from a student make informed choices about what education they want to pursue post-high school and have access to high-quality options.
some of us believe that we should make public colleges and universities tuition free so that every young person in this country, regardless of income does have that option. that's not the case today. will you work with me and others to make to make them free to federal and state efforts. >> senator, i think that an interesting idea and it's great to consider and think about. we have to consider the fact. someone's going to pay for it. >> yeah, you're right. that takes us to another issue. right now we have proposals in front of bus to substantially lower tax breaks for billionaires in this country while at the same time low income kids can afford to go to college.
do you think that makes sense? >> senator, if your question is around how can we help college and higher education be more affordable for young people -- >> actually that wasn't my question. i question mission to make public colleges and universities tuition free so that every family in america, regardless of in town will have the ability to have their kids get a higher education. >> senator, we can work together and we can work hard on making sure that college or higher education in some form is affordable for all young people that want to pursue it. i look forward to that opportunity if confirmed. >> would you agree with me that if there is a mom watching this hearing who makes 30, $40,000 a year, single mom perhaps, who has to pay $10,000 or $15,000 a year for child care for her daughter, that that is a burden that is almost impossible to deal with?
what are your proposals about making childcare universal for working families. do you have ideas on that russian mark to agree with that idea? >> that certainly is a burden. while i can understand the challenge that family that young mother would face in deciding how to best serve her child's needs, and again, i think if we are talking about the future of that child and their education, i look forward to working with you. i know we have common ground on a lot of things and we can work together to ensure the young moms child will have a great opportunity for great education in the future. >> there are countries around the world that will provide universal or inexpensive free childcare. which you work with me and work in our government in that direction?
>> i feel very strongly about the importance of young families having an opportunity for great childcare for their children. >> it's not a question of opportunity. very often my republican friends talk about opportunity. it's not a question of opportunity. it's a question of being able to afford it. how do we hope somebody who's making eight or nine bucks an nine bucks at an hour when we can't raise the minimum wage here because of republican opposition. and we make sure those moms can get quality child care they can afford? >> i look forward to helping the mom get a quality education for their child or their children so that they can look forward to a bright and hopeful future. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, senator sanders. next is senator hatch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. certainly happy to have you here. ms. tran 11 and i appreciate
your abilities you've exemplified in the work of your family, the care that you have for education, the hard work that you've done. i have to say, very fear very few people in this country that can come close to what you've done. let me say i welcome you to the committee. it's a pleasure to have you here as the nominee of secretary of education. i appreciate your tireless work in the field of education. your record of service is in line with utah values, especially your commitment to restoring local autonomy over schools. those closest to students know what is best for their education. the truth you have championed as a reformer. this committee and passage of the average student receive act illustrates that these guys are not unique to you and me, but
instead shared by many of my colleagues who care for education as a reality. all i can say as many selections for this position have worked very hard to make sure the good people serve in these positions. not just people of stereotypical education, but those who bring new things to the forefront. all i can say is we have helped many of our colleagues. we pressure them to this process on both sides of the floor and i hope they extend the same to you. i believe in extending the benefit of the doubt that a person's views as a private citizen do not necessarily reflect future actions as holder
of public office. in my private conversations with deal, i trust that you will not have -- that he will not force particularly policies on states in education do. your predecessors have done in some cases in violation of congressional intent. i also recognize that support for parental choice for all students does not attack public education. my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have attended public education as a reality. i have to say i'll share my commitment that every child receives a quality education regardless of the type of school they attend. i spent the entire service here fighting to make equity and education a reality. i believe that you will be an indispensable partner in this
fight and i look forward to working with you on the priorities that are important to the people of utah, including increasing transparency, accountability and access to higher education as well as increase in innovation and evidence-based reforms. unlike others here who may be interested in attacking your donations, i know you want to do right by all children, so i will stick to focusing how we can work together on some policy. right now, the department of education does not have a uniform measure for describing whether borrowers or repaying loans according to the confusion, the department is using a different fire where we pay that rate methodology for each policy it comes up with. the uniform metric might prove making information available to congress. the higher education community and the public success of
farmers to maintain repaying their federal student loan debt. this information could also tell us the extent to which student loan repayment rates vary across institutions. i believe students should have access to a wide variety of data when choosing a school, just like they would when choosing a car. greater access to information would be too biased decision-making when choosing an institution. do you support increasing transparency regarding loan result for students and parents two years when deciding upon a post secondary school. >> senator connie thank you or their question and for your kind comments. i agree with you 100% that the issue of student debt and the amount of student debt over $1.3 trillion right now, up
almost 1000% in the last eight years. it's a very serious issue and one which we all have to i think pay very close attention to and resolve in some way. if confirmed, i would look forward to working with you and your colleagues on ways to get after this issue, the issue of the cost of education as well as debt repayment go hand in hand and i look forward to working with you and your colleague should i be confirmed. >> thank you so much greater hope to be confirmed and i hope you make a great secretary. >> thank you from senator hatch. senator casey. >> put me on record as asking for a second round as well. >> is not under consideration, but i would be glad to pitch on record. [laughter] >> we will keep trying. ms. tran 11 coming thank you for being here with us tonight.
i wanted to start with the basic question. would you agree with me that the problem and that's an understatement in my judgment, but the problem of sexual assault on college campuses is a significant problem that we should take action on. >> senator coming thank you for that question. i agree with you that sexual assault and any former plays as a problem and no disagreement there. >> the second question is would you uphold -- let me give you a little background here that you might know. in 2011, the department of education issued guidance on title ix by this administration, the current administration. i ask you, would you uphold the 2011 title ix guidance as it relates to sexual assault on campus. >> senator, i know that there's a lot of conflict and ideas and opinions around that guidance
and if confirmed by would look forward to working with you and your colleagues and understand the range of opinions and understand the issues from the high-rise institutions that are charged with resolving this and addressing them and i would look forward to working together to find resolutions. >> i agree with the guidance. i'm just asking for a yes or no. i guess you're not going to give me a yes or no answer on committing to upholding that guidance. >> it would be premature for me to do that today. >> this problem, to say it's an epidemic also an understatement. the centers for disease control told us back in 2091 in five women are the victims of sexual assault on campus. and yet, a lot of those women who are in that one in five never have an opportunity for another report incidents.
so it's a major problem for women. in so many ways, it is the ultimate betrayal. parents for generations have told their daughters, study hard in school. get good grades because when you get good grades come he might have an opportunity to go to college. and if you go to college, the world is open to you and you can succeed by having higher education. too often and it happens every year on many campuses around the country. too often a young woman is a bit dim, sometimes in the first day she's fair or the first week and sometimes over the course of her first year and her life is destroyed by that. so we have a long way to go to addressing this problem. we took some good action on this issue as part of the violence against women act. it just happened to be my bill that got passed into law, the so-called campus say that.
what we did in that bill was for the first time say that colleges and universities, you have to do more than you are doing. certainly one broad topic of prevention and unawareness. young men on the campus who are the perpetrators of this have to be part of the solution. they have to be part of bystander education and preventative strategy. in addition to all kinds of transparency and requirements, this is what the active for women or for victims i should say, that dems of the soul. colleges and universities must provide clear statements regarding the procedures. they must do more than they have been doing when it comes to enforcement and in particular with regard to the dems that says the college university must indicate to the victim her right to notify law enforcement should visit and choose to come and that the obligation, the
institution has an obligation to help the victim reported the incident to law enforcement, including upping her to protect the border. among other things the school has to do. so that is what the law is now based upon my bill. the fall of 2015 this one into effect across the country. there is an organization called the foundation for individual rights in education. they support a bill that would totally change that. they would force the victim to go to police departments to report and they would change the standard of evidence. would you come that the secretary of education to retaining the standard of evidence that is currently law? >> senator, let me just say my mom's heart has really piqued on this issue. assault in any form is never okay. i just want to be very clear on that.
so if confirmed, i look forward to understanding the past actions of the current situation but are ensuring that the intent of the law is actually carried out in a way -- that recognizes both of the term, the rights of the vic jones as well as those who are accused as well. >> amount of time. the organization that has that position, which is contrary to the current law and contrary to the spirit of what we try to do in that piece of legislation is the recipient of donations totaling 25,000 bucks over four years. i hope that is not a conflict of interest, but i hope you would make a definitive commitment as a nominee to enforce the law as it relates to sexual assault on college campuses. ask any more questions about it.
>> thank you, senator. >> thank you from a senator casey. senator paul. >> thank you for your testimony. i grow up and went to public schools and got a great education. a big fan of public schools would make his record of public schools. there also some public schools that are doing very well. the department of education said half are doing very well. half the kids that are dropping out are kids of color. i commend you for your work on a trade to help lower income kids and help everybody get a better education. the status quo just isn't really working. i've traveled to a lot of schools and been amazed at some of the schools. i went to chicago, saint anthony's in milwaukee. latin school in philadelphia and just amazing success stories. you see the success in front of you were 100% of the kids are going to college. amazing stories were 50, 40, 30%
of contemporaries in the community are going so there are great successes. we need to think about the kids. people get caught up and i don't want religious schools or private schools in all this. look at the kids and look at the success there. i thought if you take a couple minutes and tell us about some of the things you've seen in michigan, schools that should be there visited that our success are just some of what you've seen that has excited you about the potential that all these kids do have potential and we shouldn't leave them behind. >> thank you on a senator. for that opportunity. i would love to talk about some of the schools and some of the individuals that i have seen benefit from the success of being able to choose the right educational setting. i've heard them mention the potters homeschooler jon voight to share with us today. as a school or regularly visit, the students they are come from a multitude of different
countries, speak different languages and most of them are from very low income circumstances. it is just amazing to see the transformation that those student have going through the years. there's another student here right behind me, tanisha meriwether was gotten to know the last few years who is a recipient of a tax credit scholarship program in the state of florida. she will tell you very promptly that she had a troubled early childhood and her grade school years. i think she was kicked out and multiple times before her godmother found a school that was going to work for her in the transformation was just almost overnight. the first in her family to have graduated high school. she's graduated college and admission is going to get her masters in social work degree.
she is a tremendous example of what can happen when you get an opportunity to go to the right school. media salazar is also here. her mom took her and emigrated from peru because of the opportunity. she knew she would have a much greater opportunity. media has fed the beneficiary of a tax credit scholarship program in arizona and she's now in college in pursuing a higher education there. those are two students. there's many schools that i see that are doing amazing things. actually trying new and innovative ways of approaching education for children. one of them i would love to mention is called action academy. it is a unique model and that it's totally student directed. they form their own constitution and there's no teacher in the
classroom. this just a culture or guide and the guy cannot answer questions. they can only pose a question back to the students. the results from the fact of the academy are simply amazing and the school is actually proliferating pretty rapidly throughout the country. those are a few examples but i could give you dozens more. >> putting a face on it and made a mistake in saying that they will succeed in looking them in the eye and 90s young lady succeed is an amazing thing. those that have a philosophic hatred for vouchers and school choice, watched a movie waiting for superman and watch the mom with tears in her face his mom at the lottery and want to get in a good school and the one who didn't get in. senator alexander and i went to a kipp charter school in nashville. we met a young woman there has got a full scholarship to boston college. here we are. we like to talk to the media appeared to be gifted monotype to us at all.
this young lady with an amazing success story. i wish you the best of the good thank you. >> thank you, senator paul. senator franken. >> yes, i'm a member of the minnesota dfl party. the party that the chairman and the debt the beginning of this hearing. charter schools are not the issue here. minnesota is thoroughly in the mainstream. there are 37 states in this country that constitutionally prohibit the use of public school money for religious schools. so what is the dfl party in minnesota, thank you are a much, in the mainstream and not our witness for the chairman. senator lieberman mention proficiency and it just reminded me, when i first got in the senate in 2009.
i had a roundtable print the boat and one of the principals in minnesota. and he said, we think ibm clb test as autopsies. i know exactly what he meant. what he was saying the students take the test and after lucky they get them back in late june. the teachers can't use the results to inform their instruction. so i sought in minnesota in addition to the train to test, the majority of schools are taking a computer adaptive test. a computer test to get result away an adapter so you can measure outside of grade level. this brings me to the issue of proficiency, which senator cited versus growth. i would like your views on the relative advantage of measuring assassinations and using them to measure proficiency and measure
growth. >> thank you for that question. if i'm understanding your question correctly around proficiency, i would also correlated it to competency and mastery so that you -- each student is measured according to the dance meant that they are making in each subject area. >> well, that's gross. that is not proficiency. in other words, the growth they are making is in growth. the proficiency of the arbitrary standard. >> the proficiency if they breached like a third grade level for reading, et cetera. >> i'm talking about the debate between proficiency in growth and what your thoughts are on them. >> well, i was just asking to clarify then. >> well, this is a subject that has been debated in the education community for years. and i advocated growth as the chairman and every member of this committee knows because
with proficiency, teachers ignore the kids at the top who are not going to fall below proficiency and they ignore the kid at the bottom for no matter what they do will never get to proficiency. so i've been an advocate of growth. this surprises me that you don't know this issue. and mr. chairman, i think this is a good reason for us to have more questions. because this is a very important subject, education. our kids education. i think we are selling our kids short by not being able to have a debate on it. i don't know of any rule about everyone gets one question and one other senator does the question. i don't know what several comes from. >> outside were comes from. it comes from the way we treated president obama's nominees, john king and the way i was treated from the secretary. i'm applying to say most of
them, to secretary tran 11. >> i think we are selling our kids short by not being able to ask follow up questions. as kind of surprised -- i'm not a surprise that he did not know this issue. ms. tran 11 -- ms. devos, conversion therapy to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity. for example, you and your family have given $10 million to focus on the family and on its website that strugglers can and do change their behavior and identity. this is devos, conversion therapy has been widely discredited by every mainstream medical organization as neither medically nor ethically appropriate. ..
family. i would hope you would include other family members beyond my poor family. >> in terms of growing numbers around, you said student that has increased by 1000%. >> 980% in eight years. >> that's just not so. it has increased 118% in the past eight years. i'm just asking, if you are challenging my figures, ask that you get your figures straight about education policy. that is why we want more questions. we want to know if this person that we are interesting to be the secretary of education, if she has the depth of knowledge we would expect from someone who has that important job. thank you. >> thank you senator franken.
i had as many disagreements with secretary king as you do with mrs. betsy devos and we ask that you treat her in the same way that we treated him, and i think that is what i would call the golden rule. >> i did not hear one member of the committee asked to ask more questions. here am a virtually every member of the minority is asking to ask more questions and that's a very substantial -- >> because you have a nominee of the republican party. we're not going to treat republican nominee differently than a democratic nominee. we have had the same situation with both president obama's nominees. >> i do want to put in the record that michael leavitt had two rounds. >> he was never the education secretary. >> rod paige under bush had ten minute rounds. there is other precedents and
that's why my members are really -- >> i appreciate that senator murray and i appreciate that your saying that i'm trying to be fair by treating mrs. devos in the same way we treated both of president obama's nominees. we go next to senator cassidy. >> thank you, it's it's good to see you again. i enjoyed our meeting in anticipation of this. i am really struck, the reaction your nomination has elicited. let me ask questions. do you support public education. >> absolutely, senator. >> man that's amazing. you would think somewhat think you do not. do you believe that all children believe cap deserve to have the opportunity to have a quality education. >> absolutely i do.
>> do support the rights of all children regardless of income or race to have the option to choose the school to meet their children's needs. >> absolutely i do and i commend you and your wife for the school you started that is for dyslexic students. >> i will tell you, by the way, my son who is very bright and graduated from an inner-city school with honors from some fancy school and my daughter who has dyslexia, we are able to pay the tuition and not all parents can pay that tuition so it matters very much to me that a parent, regardless of our income can get her child's needs addressed so thank you for doing that. just a few more. do support the belief that the decisions affect education are best left to the states and locals to decide, to allow them to tailor the education policy and program that best meet the
needs of their students. >> i do indeed. >> my gosh. do you view the role of the u.s. secretary of education as an opportunity to advance your personal education views and agenda. >> not mine personally. i'm going to hopefully be able to advance the president-elect's and the views of many, many parents nationally. >> as secretary of education, is it your intention to undermined our nation's public education system. >> not at all. >> will you carry out the implication that reflects the letter of the law. >> do you intend to mandate or control any school district or school on education program that is specifically prohibited by the secretary and federal law once it's example like common core. >> no. >> do you intend to mandate direct course or control state, local school district or school
to require school choice policies. >> no. >> let's just clear that up for the record. thank you. you mentioned dyslexia. i am passionate about that. 20% of us are dyslexic. i'm told that one out of four children of color by age four read below age level by grade four. that is important because we learn to read and then we read to learn. if you haven't learned to read we are behind the eight ball. that is an issue we are passionate about. will you commit to working to find common ways to promote better awareness and understanding of dyslexia and will you commit to working with me in this committee to develop better education policies to ensure dyslexic children and all students with differences have
the resources they need. >> i look forward to that opportunity. >> we you commit to working with me to develop new federal policies that will ensure early screening for dyslexia and universal screenings for all students to ensure that any learning differences are diagnosed early in the appropriate services are provided. >> i look forward to exploring that with you to see that the federal role or best left to the states but i look forward to that opportunity. >> that is a fair answer. have a couple more i could ask but this is going long so i will thank you for your answers and your back. >> thank you. senator bennett. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in view of how fair you have been to me and other members of the committee of pains me to say this, i really wish we had a second round of questions. i really wish we had the tax returns from this nominee.
i don't believe you are precedents for this. when you were the nominee, you had been a governor. you had been the president of the university. john king had been a school principal and commissioner of education in the state of new york. arty duncan had been the superintendent of the chicago public schools. those were the experiences they brought to their committee and was well-known and well-established. there is no way in the period of time we have here to elicit that level of background. i would ask that some consideration be given to have an additional questions and that tax returns be made available to the committee. i want to thank mrs. devos for your willingness to serve in being here for your passion and for that education of your family as well. i agree with you and the committee members know this that our public school system is not working for too many of our kids, particularly those living in poverty. i think it's utterly unacceptable and the fact that we don't pay attention to it,
the fact that we treat america's children like they are someone else's children is something that this generation is going to have to pay for in the future. every kid in this country should have access to a great public school. i support parents choices among high-quality public schools and charter schools, and i think it plays a critical role in education. the goal for me has never been school choice for its own end. the goal is high-quality public schools for every kid in every neighborhood so they can receive a great education. for a kid from a low income family, there is no difference between, there may be a philosophical difference, but there's no practical difference between attending a terrible school and a choice between five terrible schools but that's not a choice. in denver we made a different deal. adela said we would create a public choice system and authorize charters and create
innovation schools and strengthen traditional schools. we demanded quality and implemented strong account ability. as far as i can tell, detroit and michigan, to a degree, has followed exactly the opposite path. according to one analysis, and by the way it's not easy to figure this out because there's so little accountability and michigan, the detroit public schools average 9% which means 9% of the schools are proficient are the are little bit better, 14% are proficient. i will stipulate that the charter school are doing a little bit better but that's a horrible outcome to everyone involved. they performed worse when it came to afro-american students in eighth grade math. half of charter schools and michigan ranked in the bottom
quarter of all schools statewide my question is this, not a false choice about whether we had twice or that we shouldn't have choice, we should have choice, but what you have learned in the last 20 years of this work in michigan that has changed your mind about what it is kids need in america in the 21st century. >> thank you for that question. first of all i look forward to correcting some of the record regarding detroit. i think it's important to put detroit in context. in 1950 there were 1.8 million people living in the city of detroit. today detroit. today there is less than 700,000. anyone with any means in the city of detroit, the school-age students have left the city and the students there today -- >> with respect to not asking
for a history of detroit. what i asked about was the last 20 years of school reform that you have been so involved with the michigan. >> yes but you were referring specifically to the detroit schools and the reality today is that eight out of ten students in detroit are living in poverty nobody except that the results in detroit are acceptable. there is clearly room for a lot more improvement, but the reality is more than half -- >> i'm sorry, i'm sensitive because the inequity get a second round of question. what have you learned about the failures of the detroit public schools and charter schools that has informed your decision-making as a secretary of education. what went wrong there that will go right in cities across america as a result of your philosophy about how we ought to move the country forward. >> i believe there's a lot that
has gone right in detroit in michigan with regard to charter schools. the notion that there hasn't been accountability is wrong. it's false news. it's not correct at all. charter schools in michigan have been accountable, fully accountable to their overseeing bodies and to the state since their history. >> if that's true, why are there so many failing charter school. >> 122 charter schools have been closed since charter schools came into existence in michigan and the reality is that students attending charter schools in the city of detroit are giving three months more learning than their counterparts in the traditional public schools. the recent legislation that was passed actually brings all schools in detroit under accountability. there has never been a traditional public school that
has been closed due to poor performance. finally, the people of detroit, there is accountability across the board. >> thank you for your willingness to do this but i would like to invite you to the denver public schools if you are willing to come to see what we are working on their. >> i would love that. thank you. >> senator young. >> thank you mr. chairman. mrs. divorce, thank you you so much for putting yourself forward for this position. i think you will make a fine secretary of education. i would like to bring up to your attention, something that we discussed in your office and we spent quite a bit of time talking about teachers. it was encouraging to hear in your remarks that we are blessed beyond measure by educators who pour themselves into their students. i shared with you i'm a father
of four young children aged ten and under. i appreciate how essential it is to have prepared teachers who are immersed in an atmosphere that are supportive. that's my objective my wife and her family is full of teachers. many of them are still teaching in a low income town in indiana. i like to look to the evidence and i'm always open, but there is a 2000 -- 2007 study that want to look at what works. what makes for an effective education environment?
it wasn't the amount of money spent. student. we tried that in this country. in 1970 the cost cost to educate a student was roughly $50000, adjusting for inflation 40 years later it's $165,000. student. we know right there it's not money. what mckinsey found that one of the most important factor was the quality of our teachers. i feel very strongly that we need to remove barriers to quality teaching and enable and equipped to these teachers to do their best work and as someone who has studied this issue extensively, i would just like to get your thoughts on how we might do that. >> thank you senator. i did enjoy our meeting in your office as well talking about some of these issues. i believe first, let me restate again, a quality teacher cannot be, the importance of a quality teacher cannot be overstated and i think that the opportunities
abound for empowering and re- empowering teachers in a new way, unleashing them with a lot of rules and regulations today that really prohibit and inhibit creativity and innovation with their students. when you take a step back and look at how we deliver education today, for the most part it hasn't changed significantly in a century and a half. yet, the world has changed significantly and so, i think there is a great opportunity and this goes for teachers of all kinds of schools and all varieties, and that is to really empower them in a way that allows them to do what they do best. i know in a couple of the states when charter schools were actually introduced, those that founded the charter schools were
actually teachers who are wanting to express themselves in a different way and found a new opportunity to unleash from there previous circumstances. >> thank you. in my remaining 90 seconds, i will just emphasize that i spent the last four years in the house of representatives focused in the main on trying to ascertain whether or not our social support programs, those programs that are targeted towards helping the poor, the needy, the vulnerable, those who need a hand up in society, whether or not those programs are working. what i discovered is there are roughly 80 of these programs depending on how you count them. of those 80, only 12 have ever been rigorously evaluated using the gold standard of evaluation. of those 12, only one has been found to meaningfully work and even that one is a bit complicated. we need to apply evidence based approaches to the education
system in the same sort of way, and just there at the evidence and let it guide us accordingly, hopefully in a bipartisan way. do i have your assurance that you operate in this fashion? at the threshold issue for me. >> absolutely senator, i think it's a great opportunity and if confirmed i would would look forward to working with you on that. >> thank you. >> thank you senator young. senator whitehouse. >> thank you chairman. good evening mrs. devos. welcome to the committee. it is refuted that sigmund freud said there are times when a cigar is just a cigar, and there are times when charter schools are just charter schools. i think when that's the case, everybody in this room supports them. certainly we have a very strong charter school community in rhode island. there are times when it appears
charter schools are used as a wedge to attack public education the signals of that tend to be that failing charter schools are protected compared to failing public schools that the standards really are there. as i said in rhode island we demand a lot of our charter schools and they succeed very well and we are proud of them. i have read that 80% of charter schools in michigan are run by for-profit entities and most of them perform below the state average, suggesting that a failing charter school is automatically better than a public school in the view of that system. we in rhode island wouldn't want to see that system moved into rhode island or moved to a national level. second, when the charter school
advocates failed to recognize that there are on ongoing costs and responsibilities that a traditional public school must continue to shoulder, even even as students leave with their funding for charter schools, and that is so clear proposition now that the investment service, moody's, has written about it and talked about the danger of a downward spiral because it actually adds cost when you have to maintain the public traditional school in the charter school until the system can adjust. can you assure us that your desire for charter school is sincere and that as department, as the secretary of education you will steer away from efforts to deny traditional public schools the funding they need to manage the transition and that you will make sure that charter
schools have to live up to their promise and are not just going after traditional public schools when they are failing. >> thank you for that question. let me just begin by stating that my advocacy and my orientation is really around parents and students and their choosing the right education for their trip children. when parents choose charter schools they are doing so because they think it's a better spot for their children, and you have my commitment that i will be an advocate for all great schools, no matter their form, their version. i will be an advocate for parents being able to make those choices. >> i get that, but the the question is you understand that when the parent makes that choice and the child moves to the charter school and the funding moves with the child, that leaves a funding gap at the previous school that it can't
instantaneously or magically fill. that is a real problem. >> indeed. i think this is a good example of an issue that is best addressed at the state level by each state and acknowledging that each state will have unique circumstances in that regard. >> the problem is it will be hard to address at the state level if you make the federal department of education a crusader for moving kids to charter school without recognition of the legacy costs of the public school system. if it is your intention to create a downward spiral, that is not solved by different state policies. that's where we need u.s. secretary of education to commit to recognize there is this problem and that you will keep in mind not only the charter schools and the parents going there, but the traditional schools and the parents staying there. >> certainly, as we spoke in your office, i think this is an
issue and it's probably unique to some states more than it is to others, but again, i will refer back to the implementation of the every student succeeds act and the opportunities that states have to address the unique challenges of their states. i will be a crusader for parents and students and the quality of their education, not for for specific systems and not for specific arrangements of how school is delivered. >> let me ask you one other quick question. for ten years you served on the board for the study of religion and liberty which calls climate change unfounded and of undue concern. you and your husband have contributed to the thomas more law center which has repeatedly promoted fake science and a lawsuit over the adoption of a biology textbook including intelligent design. the s in stem is science.
if school districts around the country try to teach students junk science, will the department of education be with the students or with the political entities trying to force the junk science into the science program. >> i think it's pretty clear that the expectation is that science is taught in public schools and i support the teaching of great science and science that allows students to exercise critical thinking and to really discover and examine in new ways, and science is to be supported at all level. >> i would have liked mr. chairman to have made some comments about pell grants to follow up on some of these answers which were directed toward the question but maybe not completely responsive to the question and to ask about where the department will go on this
nightmarish problem of for-profit colleges that have taken these kids and rob them of their education and set them loose with a piece of paper that isn't worth anything, and i believe, as i said i'm very fond of you and this committee and i don't recall ever being told that i could never have a second round in a hearing as a matter of principle before. >> thank you senator whitehouse. i'm i'm going to take my five minute rounds now and go back to something that mrs. devos brought up which is something that others have brought up. i want to talk about the law that the president called the christmas miracle that this committee produced that fixed no child left behind. it was passed in december 2015. under the current administration , the plans are, under the law we call, senator
franken may have been the first person to suggest that. the department is planning, is on a path to say to states, go ahead, every state will have to make their new title i plan and the new title to plan which is a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of the the current administration is on a path to say to states get your plans in and we will approve them in the spring or in the summer and you can then implement the plans in the school year that begins next year. will you, is it your intention to continue on that path, on
that schedule? >> absolutely senator. if there is any confusion or question around transition, rest assured it would be a high priority if confirmed for me to ensure that the plan is adhered to and. >> plans are being circulated among various groups and if you are confirmed, people will be looking for a signal for used to get your plan in in spring and summer and we will try to approve it or consider it so you can get on in the next year. our second question is we have some considerable differences and we resolve them well enough to pass a bill that others voted for. we worked out some difficult issues. we even put what senator murray
likes to call guardrails on the states and we even put some guardrails on the secretary of education which my colleagues on the democratic side may now think better of that we did that what is your attitude toward respecting the authority that congress gives you and trying to implement the law according to the way it's written rather than trying to legislate from where you are. for example, you believe very strongly in giving low income parents more choices of schools. we debated that and only got 45 votes so it's not in the law. would you then try to write a regulation to try to implement that even though congress couldn't do it. >> senator, it would be my goal, if confirmed to implement laws as you intended them. i acknowledge that it is your role to write laws and pass laws
and it would be the department's role to implement as intended, and that's my commitment. >> so no matter how strongly you feel about school choice, for example, you wouldn't be prepared to mandate washington state or tennessee to adopt a particular school of choice plan. >> no, i would hope i could convince you all of the merit of that and maybe some future legislation, but certainly not any mandate from within the department. the scholarship for kids legislation that got 45 votes which was an offense senator scott proposed a more limited version which had to do with students with disabilities, basically said that you could take the $24 billion of federal dollars we now spend, $24 billion of the federal dollars we now spend and the state could choose to take its share of that money and turn it into $2100 scholarships and let
it follow the students to the schools that the state chose. so the state did not approve of dollars, or if it did that, in that case, it would allow the states to make the decision and the parents to make the choice rather than washington giving an order that you have to do school choice. is that the kind of school choice proposal you would support? >> absolutely and we've seen a wide variety of approaches including private school choice in the now 25 states in which programs exist. so, i think it would really be dependent on each state's political realities and culture and how they wanted to approach that opportunity and that option or if they wanted to expand it that would be another
alternative as well. >> thank you. senator bohlman. >> thank you. i want to weigh and also that i hope that we will get additional opportunity to ask questions. i would like it to be not in writing but to give the american people a chance to hear the root exchange and responses. i also associate myself with the concerns raised by our ranking member prior to receipt of the office of government ethics plan for elimination of multiple conflicts of interest. you had the chance to answer questions about your indirect investments and education related for-profit companies, including social finance and
performance which i understand to be a collection agency that specializes in student debt collection. i won't repeat those now, but let me get to that ethics agreement that will be forthcoming. what decision you will need to make is whether you want to take advantage of section 1043 of the internal revenue code which allows you to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of assets divested in order to comply with ethics rules. this provision can allow wealthy individuals to save hundreds of millions of dollars. it is why, when i became aware of this that i joined sen.'s white house and worn on this committee as well as our senator feinstein in introducing a bill
to close this loophole or at least limit the amount of capital gains that could be deferred to $1 million. because we don't have your financial information yet from the office of government ethics, my question to you is are you planning on taking advantage of this tax loophole? >> thank you for that question. let me just restate again that i look forward to the ethics agreement finalization with the office of government ethics and am committed to ensuring that i have no conflicts and will go forward with no conflicts. with respect to your specific question, i do not intend to take advantage of that loophole. i have already made that conclusion, that decision, and in fact it would probably be useful to note here that again, if confirmed, i will only take a salary of 1 dollar so i can be official, but i don't intend to
take a salary either. >> also listened carefully to your opening statement and your exchange with senator franken related to your sizable donations to a number of anti- lgbt organizations that have been associated with advocacy for the discredited practice of conversion therapy. i was heartened by your response. i will say. i would note that these same organizations, anti- lgbt organizations also have been hostile to nondiscrimination protections, issues like adoption, marriage equality. given the alarm that parents
have expressed to me about these donations to anti- lgbt organizations, i guess i want to ask, i assume there are lgbt students and their parents watching tonight. what would you say to them to assure them you are going to use your position as secretary to support lgbt students or students with lgbt parents. >> thank you senator. let me restate again that i embrace equality and i firmly believe in the intrinsic value of each individual and that each student should have the assurance of safe and discrimination free place to become educated. i want to restate those principles and values for me. let me discuss those
contributions you referred to again and suggest he might be confusing other family members in those. i just want to again refer to what i just said about my approach. if i had, as a mom, i just can't imagine having a child that would feel discriminated against for any reason, and i would want my child in a safe environment. >> i know that i have run out of time and mr. chairman i have many other questions that i would like to ask. i will say, mrs. devos, if, if you think, and we been fairly general given our restricted time, but the issue of charitable contributions, if you will, or contributions to these anti- lgbt organizations, if you
feel like there has been a family member who has contributed and you are being identified in the public record is incorrect, please, in writing, follow up. i have certainly seen information quite to the contrary. >> thank you senator baldwin. senator roberts. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for holding the hearing and i think the ranking member as well. mrs. devos, thank you for being responsive, articulate, informed, and in my view, specific. i suppose all members could submit any specific questions they have for the record and we could have a time. on that and if they had any concern they could always speak on the senate floor. >> thank you for coming by my office.
we had a nice visit. i let you know that way back i had the opportunity to teach while trying to put out the newspaper on the west side of phoenix, but at any rate, i know you fully understand a one-size-fits-all education system does not work. you said that in your testimony. i told you that i held a roundtable discussion in kansas at washington university in topeka with 12 college presidents and 12 business stakeholders important of those universities to discuss higher education of workforce development given the fact that we are going to attempt to pass a higher education bill. in particular, i heard from a a higher education leaders about the impact of federal programs, obviously policies, but
especially more regulations on kansas institutions of higher education. during our meeting last month in my office i shared with you an information chart, i need a bigger chart. it's like the guy who needed a bigger vote. maybe that's not a proper category, but anyway, these are 34 topics or areas of federal regulation, some of them very, very important, but the collective judgment was that they were so intrusive, so expensive, so time-consuming that they had to get an office of compliance just to look at the federal regulations and then they assigned that news bears to go tell all the various departments that make up the johnson county community department which has the highest enrollment of any college and university in kansas, more than
the jayhawks, more than the jayhawks, more than wild hallux and more than the. [inaudible] these areas of regulation basically indicate that we need to work together to eliminate many of these burdensome regulations that hinder the main goal to educate our children effectively and efficiently. as you know, i think everybody, and i think i would have agreement on the other side that regulations are one of the key areas. will you be a partner in addressing many of these time-consuming regulations.
>> thank you for that question and thank you for the meeting in your office. i appreciate seeing the chart again. i am a visual learner and i really appreciate that one in particular, but yes, i can commit can commit to you that if confirmed i will look forward to working with you and this committee on that at the end of the regulation that you have referred to and wanting to help free our institutions of higher learning to the greatest extent possible to do what they do best. >> it's tough when you try to go directly to the person who is in charge of that department, namely you. i tried that before, setting down across from president obama complaining about regulation to learn of his executive order to make sure that every department described to a cost-benefit yardstick, if you will. that didn't happen.
the person in charge with his right arm, dennis. he was in charge of war and peace and other things. i will recommend that maybe they ought to do it regionally. we've had people from rural areas. it will be terribly important that we get to somebody who can actually see the problem and report back to you or somebody else in your department. you can't do all of this. i don't know anybody who can. at least, when we have a real problem with the universities we say here's a regulation that just doesn't make sense. can we at least address it. maybe we can tweak it, maybe we can get rid of it or maybe we can do better. i hope that you can work out some kind of swat team, if you will with regard to overregulation. that that really was the number one issue that i heard. >> thank you.
i think that sounds like a great idea. >> thank you senator roberts. senator murphy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. if senator alexander decides to allow us more than a meager five minutes of questions, do you have anywhere to be tonight? would you be able to stick around and answer those questions? >> i am to defer to the chairman on the. >> i assume you probably don't have other obligations. let me just count myself in. i think this is a real shame, this rush job and inability to allow the public to see this debate before we have all the information. i think it violates the best traditions of this committee and it suggests this committee is trying to protect this nominee from scrutiny and i hope we would reconsider. let me try to rush through these questions and the time that i have. your family has been investors in a company called k-12. it's for profit charter operator predicates about 80% of its
money from the federal or state taxpayers and it paid its ceo over $1 million in the first year. it has made millions and millions of dollars in profit. i could go through a long litany of examples in which people have made their fortune off of public education dollars. a school principal in orlando got a $519,000 payout when her school was closed for poor performance. i poor performance. i guess my question is simple. you support companies and individuals profiting from public education dollars that is essentially taking money away from students to pay salaries for ceos in return for investors. >> thank you for the question. let me just say when it comes to education i think what's important is what the outcomes are, what the achievements are and i don't think the delivery mechanism is the issue as much as it is our students receiving
the benefit of a great education >> have you met many principals in detroit that say they have enough, that they don't need more. >> i can't really answer that question. i haven't asked him specifically if they have enough. >> so if we can't agree that folks shouldn't get rich off schools, maybe we can agree they shouldn't be getting rich off terrible schools. you and i had a chance to talk about the accountability regulations that were a big part of the underlying new federal education law. the department has issued final regulations that incorporate comments of basically everyone in the education field to make sure that the extent that public dollars are flowing to private schools that they meet real standards. this accountability regulations are supported by the council of state school officers, civil rights rights groups, teachers unions, can you assure this committee that you will implement those accountability regulations to make sure all
schools are performing and not throw it into chaos for states and districts around the country. will you implement those accountability regulations? >> let me just restate again that i think accountability is highly important and i support accountability for all schools which is why i supported the most recent legislation in michigan that is now holding all schools, including traditional public schools accountable for performance and i will continue to support accountability and support the implementation of every student succeeds act as congress has intended it. >> are you going to support the existing regulations supported by a wide cross-section of the educational community that requires schools to come up with their own accountability standards, state and local
-based that will require that all schools meet some basic standards but i'm asking your specific question about this existing regulation and whether you are willing to support it or if you will use your position to undermine it or change it. >> as would be standard, i look forward to reviewing that and state my orientation to pro- accountability and pro- responsibility to parents and taxpayers. >> i think that will raise a lot of questions. one final question. you think guns have any place in or around schools. >> i think that is best left to locales and state to decide. if the underlying question -- >> you can say definitively today that guns shouldn't be in schools. >> i will refer back to senator nz and the school that he was talking about in wyoming.
i think probably they are, i imagine there was a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzly. >> if president trump moves forward with his plan to -- >> i will support what the president elect supports but if it's around gun violence, please know that my heart bleeds and is broken for those families who have lost any individual due to gun violence. >> i look forward to working with you. >> thank you senator murphy. senator scott a couple questions i have as it relates to kids who
are consistently attending schools who are underperforming. if you look at the outcome of the lives of the children which i think is a very important, how is the education system preparing them for the future that we hope we all get to live, a future that includes achieving the american dream. when we look specifically at schools in the rural areas as well as the inner cities, these schools are underperforming. kids that come from those underperforming schools consistently have significantly higher rates of incarceration. they have significantly higher rates of unemployment. the importance of education can't be emphasized enough, the responsibility that the government will bear because of that poor education system.
what we can do to make sure that there is access to quality education in every zip code should be of paramount importance for this nation, this committee as well as the entire senate. i would love to hear your thoughts on that before i look into the program. >> senator, thank you for that question and for the thought and your observations and experience behind it. i couldn't agree more that we have continued to do a disservice too so many people in our country by forcing them to attend schools that are not working for them or not working for many. the fact that 1.4 million students drop out of school every year, that is one every 42 seconds two seconds. it is a human tragedy when you think about the lost human potential, and as you've mentioned, essentially a a pipeline to prison for so many of those students.
that is why i continue to be an advocate for allowing parents and empowering parents with the opportunity to make the right choices for their children and i understand that there is a full range of those choices based on the reality of the state and that's why states really need to grapple with this issue in a meaningful way, and if confirmed, i hope to be able to talk with governors and legislators about opportunities that they have to address the students whom you preferred. >> thank you. i think there's another part of the education apparatus that doesn't get enough good attention. so often we think of technical schools as a subpar choice, as the place you go if you can't get into a four-year school. it's as if we have this bachelors addiction that may not be in the best interest of the student.
i hope you are committed to encourage and provide support to our high quality technical schools. i know in south carolina, the importance of our technical schools can't be over emphasized the sectors that we benefit from from the boeing 9000 to the bmws to the mercedes, our technical schools are the reason we are succeeding. one of the things i've noted is that we probably need to have a robust conversation about making sure there is flexibility to the coursework at some of the technical schools because there is almost 6 million openings in this country, 75% do not require
a college degree. that means if we can align what's available in the marketplace with the training and technical schools we might save an important part of our unemployment. >> absolutely. i think the students, as they anticipate higher education really need to have a full menu of options shared with them and they need to know and understand what the costs are for the various avenues that they might take and certainly technical schools, community colleges, apprenticeship, there's really a wide variety of alternative pathways to a really great future if students are made aware of them. >> in about out of time, but just to finish, you may be familiar with the 529 plans that provide, i think think you can
put about $50000 into an account for college education. i think they could be a wonderful apparatus to be able to pay for or subsidize some of the cost of k-12. i would love to have a conversation about that. >> senator scott. >> thankthank you, mr. chairman. as the only other party, we don't have a second round. i asked mice daft to actually pull the record from the hearing we had with king and you said when you called on me, i think we have time for a second round. senator warned, you can be the first in the second round. it turns out i was the only one who stayed and had questions. i understood that precedent meant anybody who had questions for a second round could stay and ask them. while we are doing precedent, i also understand that president
obama's nominees who came before this committee had all filled out their ethics forms and those were available before we had a hearing so we would have a chance to ask questions about them. i'm a little confused by what precedent means. this is divorce, many of my colleagues have pointed out your lack of experience in k-12 public schools, but i would like to ask you about your qualifications for leading the nation on higher education. the department of education is in charge of making sure that the $150 billion that we dollars that we invest in students gets into the right hands and students have the support they need to be able to pay back their student loans. the secretary of education is essentially responsible for managing a trillion dollars student loan bank and distributing $30 million in pell grants each year.
an entire generation of young people depends on your department getting that right. mrs. devos, do you have any direct experience in running a bank? >> i do not. >> have you ever managed or overseen a trillion dollar loan occasion. >> i have not. >> how about $1 billion loan program. >> i have not. >> so no experience managing a program like the this. how about participating in one? ethnic it's it's important for the person who is in charge of our financial aid programs to understand what it's like for students and their families who are struggling to pay for college. have you ever taken out a student loan from the federal government to help pay for college. >> i have not. >> have any of your children had to power borrow money. >> they have been fortunate not too. >> have you had any personal expense with the pell grant. >> not personal experience, but certainly friends and students with whom i've worked. >> so you have no personal experience with college financial aid or management of higher education.
mrs. devos, let's start with the basics. do you support protecting federal taxpayer dollars from waste fraud and abused. >> absolutely. >> oh good, so do i appeared now we all know that president-elect trumps experience with higher education was to create a fake university which resulted in him paying $25 million million dollars to students that he cheated. i am curious about how the trump administration would protect against waste, fraud and abused at similar for-profit colleges. how do you plan to protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud and abuse by colleges that take and millions of dollars in federal student aid? >> senator, if confirmed, i will certainly be very vigilant. >> i'm asking how. how are you going to do that. >> the individuals with whom i work in the department will
ensure that federal monies are used properly and appropriately, and i will look forward to working. >> so you are going to subcontract making sure that what happens with universities that cheat students doesn't happen anymore. >> no, i didn't say. >> you're going to give that to someone else to do? i just want to know what you are going to do so we don't have problems with waste, fraud and abuse. :
>> senator, i will commit to ensuring that institutions which receive federal funds are actually serving her students well. >> so you will enforce that gainful employment rule to make sure that these career colleges are not cheating students? >> we will certainly review that rule and speed if you would not commit enforce it? >> and see that it is actually achieving what the intentions are. >> i don't understand about reviewing it. we talked about this in my office. there are already rules in place to stop waste, fraud, and abuse. i don't understand how you cannot be sure about enforcing them. swindlers and crooks are out there doing back flips when they hear an answer like this. if confirmed, you will be the cop on the beat. if you can't commit to use the tools that are already available to you in the department of
education, then i don't see how you can be the secretary of education. i look forward to having a second round of questions. >> thank you, senator warren. senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i cannot help but think that if my friends on the other side of the aisle had used their time to ask questions rather than complaining about the lack of a second round, that each would have been to get in a second question. and i just now used 16 seconds of my time to make that point. ms. devos, first of all, let me say that i have no doubt that you care deeply about the education of all children. and they say that despite the fact that you and i do not agree on all the issues. given your lifelong work and commitment to education, any
suggestions such as was made earlier that your nomination is linked to your political contributions is really unfair and unwarranted. and i just want to say that for the record. i now would like to move on to some questions about how you view the federal role in education versus the state and local role. i want to put aside the d.c. opportunity scholarship program, because congress is relationship to the district of columbia is unique. and i want to ask you, at what level of government do you believe that decisions about charter schools and vouchers should be made? is that a federal role is that a state role?
>> thank you, senator, for that question and let me just say i really enjoyed the conversation we had in your office. and let me respond to your question about federal versus state and local role by saying i absolutely support the fact that it is a state role and state decision what kind of offering there might be with regards to choices in education. as we discussed in your office, you know, maine has some unique, has a unique situation with students attending school on islands and in rural areas. and to suggest that the right answer for maine is the same as the right answer for indiana or any other state is just not right, and i would not support a federal mandate and a federal and dictating the. >> i'm glad to hear that. i have heard repeatedly from school officials, whether it's superintendents, teachers or school board members, that the
single most important action that the federal government could take would be to fulfill the promise of the 1975 individuals with disabilities education act, to fund or 2% of the additional cost of educating a special needs child. it's been many years since that law was passed. we have never come close with a 40%. would you commit to taking a look at the funding of the department to see if we could do a better job of moving toward fulfillment of that promise? that is an action that would help every single school district in this country. >> absolutely i would commit to that, if confirmed, and actually
think this is an area that could be considered for an approach that would be somewhat different in that maybe the money should follow individual students instead of going directly to the states. but again i think that something that we could discuss and i look for to talking about with the members of this committee. >> another of my concerns having worked at a college level for a period of time is the low rate of college completion. there's nothing worse than a student being saddled with educational debt, and not earning their credential or the degree that would enable that student to pay off that debt. i'm a strong supporter of the federal trio program, which helps prepare students for higher education, and helps to raise aspiration, particularly
of children who come from families without experience in the higher education. do you have in -- any thoughts on how we can do a better job of supporting college success programs so that we can ensure that students are able to complete their degrees or earn their credential? >> senator, thank you. i do think that we can do a better job with preparing students, informing them before they enter college. and i know the trio program helps to mentor and prepare students that might not otherwise have an opportunity. and i think that's a very important and valid one to look at for perhaps come is there another and more effective way to advance that are to replicate that or use that in a new way to
increase the participation of students that may not otherwise pursue higher education and complete it. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator collins. senator -- >> thank you, mr. chair and ranking member murray. i certainly look forward to working on this committee with all of you and i appreciate the opportunity to participate. ms. devos, it's nice to see you again. thank you for being here today, and your family as well. and i think all of us here sherri commitment to public education and understand the essential nature to our democracy. i would echo my colleagues call for another round, at least a a question because i think our job here is not just to talk about ideas but actually to drill down to how things actually worked in practice. and so i want to talk about one of the situations as we begin to
touch on in my office when we met. it echoes limit of what senator collins was just talking about in terms of full commitment to our students with disabilities. and what senator cassidy was talk about in terms of access to quality education for children with dyslexia. my son ben experiences very severe physical disabilities. he has cerebral palsy. he can't speak. he can't use his fingers for keyboard. he doesn't want ideas smart and the best kid on earth, if i can say so myself. he got a quality public education at our local school. he's a graduate of exeter high school. the reason he got there was because countless advocates and champions before the hassan family worked so hard to make sure that he had the right to that education. and i am concerned that when
students who experience disabilities receive a publicly funded voucher to attend a private school, they often don't receive adequate resources. and in some cases have to sign over the legal rights under the individuals with disabilities education act. so do you think that family should have a recourse in the courts if their child's education does not adequately meet his or her needs, whether it's at a school with get a voucher or any more traditional public school? >> thank you, senator, for the question. and again i appreciated our meeting earlier last week. let me begin by saying i appreciate and am thankful that you have had the opportunity with your son ben to find the right setting for him. and i would advocate for all parents to be able to have that opportunity to choose the right
school for -- >> i had the opportunity to send it to the same public school that my daughter went to. because the law required that that school provide him resources that were never provided before the law was passed. because they are hard. so the question is, will you enforce the law with regard to kid with disabilities come if a voucher program did allow them to go someplace else? and the schools that it's just too expensive, we don't want to do it. >> i think that there are great examples of programs that are already underway in states. ohio has a great program. and, in fact, sam and his mom are here today, beneficiary of that john peterson special need scholarship program. >> i understand that and because my time is limited, excuse me for interrupting but what i'm asking you is there is at least one voucher program in florida which makes students sign away their rights before they can get that voucher.
i think that is fundamentally wrong and i think it will mean that students with disabilities can use the voucher system that a department under your leadership might start. some want to know whether you will enforce and whether you will make sure that chill with disabilities do not have to sign away their legal rights in order to get a voucher, should a voucher program be developed? >> i would love to comment to the mckay scholarship program in florida where i believe today 31,000 1000 students are taking advantage of it. and 93% of the parents that are utilizing that voucher are very, very pleased with -- >> i'm sorry speech as opposed to 30 some percent -- >> i'm sorry, but that isn't the question i asked. so for right now i'm going to move on to one final question. i really do wish we had a second round. because there's a lot here that is critical to our children, especially with disabilities.
and with all due respect, ms. devos is not answer my question to the other question i had, i can because we don't have a second round, i'm trying to follow up on it had to you gave earlier to some of my colleagues. i understand that there is a foundation the edgar and elsie prince foundation, which i think it is a foundation named for your parents come is that correct? >> it's my mothers foundation. >> and you sit on the board? >> i do not. >> you do not? >> no. spirit so when it made its over $5 million -- >> my mother makes the decision for her foundation. >> thank you. >> thank you stender hassan. senator burr. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. devos, thank you for agreeing to serve. i think a lot of americans watch what goes on here, and say,
never me, i will never go through it. and i think most of us say that after an election cycle. it's rare to find somebody who is the full monty. i mean, you don't have to do that. that's a parent. you didn't have to choose education as your life ambition, but you did. so i thank you for the investment that you made for all the kids that have been impacted for the unbelievable statistics that you know about florida, or about were ever, and i'm sure you and the senator from minnesota can come to an agreement on what the numbers were that he was talking about. i sat here and i remember in my first election, i went in to get the support of educators, and i was 10 minutes into what looked to be a 30 or 45 minute question
and answer period after 10 minutes i looked and said, are there any questions that deal with kids, or outcomes? and they said no. so i got up and left. you know, we can ask you all sorts of questions about you personally and what you've done, but you came into my office, and before ever asked a question in several minutes, you convince me that you are passionate about making sure that every child had the opportunity at a successful education. and from that, that every child that got that education would have an opportunity to reach for the american dream of life that is unlimited, an opportunity that is unlimited. so you convince me without me asking a question. i've only got one question today. why is it so difficult for us to
figure out how to focus on outcome versus to get so hung up on process? >> senator, i think that's a very good question. and i think we could have a very robust debate industry about that. but i think that human tendency is to protect and guard what is, because change is difficult. and yet, we see the fact that there are millions of students who are simply not getting the opportunity for an equal, an equal opportunity for a quality education. and we try to tinker around from the top, and we try to fix things. but it becomes more about the system i'm afraid, and it does about what's right for each child.
and so i think you for your support and your encouragement around the notion that every child should have the opportunity com, every parent sd have opportunity on the half of their to choose the right educational environment for them. and i'm hopeful that if we can continue having a robust conversation about this, that we will talk about the great schools that our children have the opportunity to go to 10 years from now, many of which may not even exist today or look very different than what exists today. because i think the opportunity to innovate in education is virtually unlimited, and has been really untested to a large extent. so i'm very hopeful that we will have that opportunity and a opportunity for that kind of conversation spirit i think we will and i hope that the committee sees it in their
actions to make sure that you were at the helm of the department of education. as i look across america and as i look across the world, i see an age where technology is going to impact things that we didn't even dream about five years ago, at what we have seen happen to our pdas is now going into health care. it's drive manufacturing. i still remember my father at 90 years old looking at me, just about five years ago, six years ago and saying, i don't understand how a fax machine works. you know what, i was never able to explain to him, but that didn't limit my use of it and my belief that it serves an important purpose. so education is going to change drastically. but what's most important is that somebody passionate at the top, concerned about every child and every child's opportunity for that i am grateful you are here. i yield. >> senator king. >> thank you, ms. devos. how much information an you have
about the finances of the president elect, his salmon trout related organizations? >> -- his family. >> i don't have that information. >> i take it you will not have any way of knowing when asked to take official action in your capacity as second-rate house actions might affect his personal financial situation? >> i'm not sure i could comment on that spirit this isn't is a theoretical. i think it's relevant to assessing the wisdom of an education policy proposal to know how that proposal might affect the presidents personal finances. do you disagree with me? >> i think the president-elect has taken to ensure -- >> do you disagree with me? is it -- >> can you stick a question to get? >> i think it's relevant to assessing the wisdom of a proposal to know how the proposal might affect the presidents personal finance. do you disagree with me? >> i don't disagree with you. >> thank you. permission to shoot secretary of
education was a champion of kids, parents, state and local patrol and outcomes. i also think the nation deserves the secretar secretary was a chf personal -- -- in a speech in education you were pretty blunt quote government really sucks. you called the public school system a quote that end. in order to clarify, you never attended a public school, k-12 school, did you? >> children spirit and your children did not? >> that's correct. >> and you have taught -- >> i have not but i've mentored in one. >> teachers and others do better when their morale is high, would you agree with me? >> absolutely at the support great teachers. >> the attitude of a leader of an organization matters a lot to the morale of the workforce, would you agree? >> absolutely. just with reference to the quote that -- >> i would like to introduce that for the record i do have other questions about and have a very limited amount of time. >> i want to move on. you and you hasn't spoke at a
conference a number of years ago and her husband said, this is not attributed to you but you are together at the conference if what i read is correct, the church has been displaced by the public school as the center for activity, the center of what goes on in a community. thomas jefferson didn't you public education as contrary to our competitive with church or religion. do you? >> i do not spirit do you think schools that receive k-12 schools that receive government funding should meet the same accountability standards, outcome standards? >> all schools that receive public funding should be accountable, yet. >> should meet the same accountability standards? >> yes. although you have different accountability standards between traditional public schools and charter schools. >> but i'm really interested in, should be on a level playing field. public charter or private k-12 schools if the receive taxpayer funny they should meet the same
accountability standards spirit yes. they should be transparent with the information and parents should have the information first and foremost. >> if confirmed, would you insist upon that equal accountability in any k-12 school or education program that receives federal funding, where the public, public charter or private? >> i support accountability spit equal accountable for all schools to receive federal funding? >> i support accountability spirit is that a yes or a no? >> that i support accountability spirit do not want to answer my question? >> i support accountability spirit i think all schools was the text opening should be equally accountable. do you agree or not? >> they don't. they are not come today spent i think they should. do you agree or not? >> no. spivey let me move to my next question. should all schools within governmental funding be required to meet the requirements of the individuals with disabilities education act? >> i think they already are. >> but i'm asking you a should question. whether they are or not we'll get into that later. should all schools that receive
taxpayer funding be required to meet the requirements of the individuals with disabilities education act -- >> i think that as a matter best left to the states. >> so states, some states might be good to kids with disabilities and other states might not be so good and then what, people can move around the country if they don't like how the kids are being treated? >> i think that's an issue best left to the state. >> what about the federal requirement courts is a federal law, the individuals with disabilities education act. if schools receive federal funding should they be required to follow federal law whether they're public, public charter or private? >> as the senate to refer to -- >> just yes or no. i've only got one more question. >> florida program. there's many parents that every happy with the program there. >> i think all schools in the receive federal funding, public, public charter or private should be required to meet the conditions of the individuals with disabilities education act. do you agree or not? >> i think that is certainly worth discussion and i would
look forward -- >> so you cannot yet agree. should all k-12 schools receiving federal funds be required to report the same information regarding instances of harassment, discipline or bullying? >> i think that federal funding certainly comes with strings attached spirit i think also to schools should be required to report equally information about discipline, rested a bowling, do you agree with me or not? >> i would look forward to reviewing that provision. >> if it was a court i would say to the court, let the judge insert the witness to answer the question. it's not a court or q are not under second but you're trying to win my vote. thanks, mr. chair. >> senator murkowski. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. devos, thank you for coming to my office. i had an opportunity to walk you through the map of alaska. hopefully educate you some come to some of the challenges that we face as a state in delivering education.
and what is not a real state but what has been described as a french or state and many, many ways. 82% of the communities in alaska are not attached by road. they are truly islands in every sense of the word. i had an opportunity on saturday to meet with about 400 teachers from around the state. i will tell you they are concerned about your nomination. they are concerned because they would love to have the choice we're talking about, but when you are a small school in buckland, when you're a small school in ginkgo, when there is no way to get to an alternative option for your child, the best parent is left to rely on a public school system that they demand to be there for the kids. so i want to make sure, and i think everyone of those teachers
that i met with on saturday, wants to make sure that your commitment to public education, particularly for our rural students who have no choices, is as strong and as robust as the passion that you have dedicated to advancing charter schools. now, i appreciated your responses to senator cassidy, because he was a direct and you get very reassuring answers there that you are not seeking to undermine her to erode public schools. i appreciated what you said in response to senator alexander's, the chairs questions, about whether you would work to move towards a voucher type of a system is, in fact, we in the congress said no, that is not the direction. i tried to assure the teachers that i was talking to that there is not, there are not sufficient votes to what i call voucherize the system. i appreciated the inquiry that
senator kaine has been making though about the level of accountability. and this is something that was brought up in the q&a section in anchorage was that a concern that they would not be an effort to match that accountability to those schools that received federal funding, either through a voucher program, a federal match their education savings account dollars, but that in addition to performance standards, that it would be to accountability with adhering to federal laws for civil rights as well as students with disabilities. i will ask for continuation of that discussion. you have, i think, provided some very responsive, it that i think will help our teachers and alaska where, again, their options and choices are very limited. but how can you provide
assurance to these teachers, these families, the students for whom alternatives and options are severely limited? not because we don't want them but our geography really isolates us. >> thank you, senator, for the question and i really appreciated our conversation and a review of the map, because it does remind us how the unique challenges that alaska has. and i would just say that i can assure you that if confirmed, that i will support alaska and its approach to educating its youngsters, and that, i have to say i think the creativity and innovation that alaska has employed through the traditional public system is one that other states could probably take note of and learn some lessons from, and would hope they would
continue to feel that freedom and that try to continue to educate and innovate. >> we are quite proud of some of the innovation we have made. we have a great deal of choice within our urban centers. for my colleagues education, and edification, anchorage posts six of the most ethnically diverse schools in united states of america. we're sitting in anchorage, alaska. so i have that level of diversity, but then i am rural villages where i may have no more than 60 kids in a school. and in order for them to have the same benefits and opportunity, the dollars the flow, the commitment that flows to those families, that there is not level of accountability throughout remains a very significant challenge. so i need to have a very clear and a very firm commitment that
the focus that you will give to not only alaska but two states that have significant rural populations, that the students who will not have alternatives, that that public school system is not undermined, eroded or ignored. >> absolutely, senator, you have my commitment. in fact, as i said i think they're so much that alaska can share with others in terms of how to address challenges of very widespread student population. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> i'll now turn to senator murray. >> mr. chairman, i just have to start by seeing and hope this doesn't count against my time, on questions but it's not a question. for questions that i have quite sure i know all of our trees want to follow including others but i discern on iga, sexual assault and pell grants and a number of other questions.
let me just say i'm really disappointed that you preemptively cut off cardmembers of asking questions. it really is unprecedented. you and i worked together and i appreciate that, but i hope you change your mind. i don't know what you're trying to protect ms. devos from. she should get robust scrutiny. she's going to oversee the education of all of our kids, and what's happening in higher education, and much more. to be very clear, this is not what we've done in this committee. for michael leavitt, president bush's second second of hhs, five men was participated in second-round pick for president bush's third fda commissioner, three members participated in a second round. president obama for second avenue labor, three motorsports has been in a round pick the hearing was actually over for hours. tom daschle, secretary of health and human services, for members participate in a second-round pick president clinton's second
secretary of labor, three 1/2 hour hearing hour hearing, 10 minutes of questioning. secretary of education, president bush's nominee, 10 questions. i hope you're not just cherry picking secretary duncan and king who had a long broad history behind them when they came to this. i really would like to enter these transcripts that i have come showing the actual precedent of this committee into the record. i think it's important for all of us to remember that. given the lack of paperwork from the oge and the numerous outstanding questions i know my numbers have, they are still sitting here. it's a 15 p.m. they wouldn't be sitting here if they didn't have additional questions. i'd like to please call for a second hearing for this nominee. >> well, do you want me to respond to that now and then will you have additional questions yourself? >> yes. >> let me respond in this way. you know the respect i have for you and for each member of this committee and for how we worked together, but what you are asking me to do is to treat ms.
ms. devos different than we treated president obama is to education sectors and i'm not going to do that. we are already at this hearing started by 15. it's 8:15. that's three hours and five minutes of questions. secretary duncan, president obama was first secretary, the hearing was two hours into minutes. john king present obama is current secretary was two hours and 16 minutes. this is already three hours and we're not finished yet. as far as questions go, each member of this committee has had an opportunity to visit with msi believe she has been that. several members of this committee have already sent her written questions which she will
answer before we vote on her nomination. she has complied with all the rules of the committee. the committee rules do not require that the office of government ethics agency, office of government ethics report be in by the time we actually have a hearing. she submitted her information there. on the 12th of i'd leave the 12th of, the fourth of january. and ms. devos, i understand you are working and will continue to work with the office of government ethics and sign an ethics agreement, is that correct? >> that's correct, mr. chairman spin the purpose of that just of those who are watching is a designated government office that works with nominees, and that comes to an agreement with them if there is any conflict of interest. and if she, for example, needs to divest yourself of something, that will be part of the
agreement. that she has said that she will do whatever she needs to do to gain an agreement with the office of government ethics so that the letter of the group will say she has no conflicts of interest. i have said that that letter will be public, at least by friday, before we vote on her nomination by next tuesday. so you will have the opportunity to question her in your office, to question her today as extensively as you did either of president obama's nominees, to have an opportunity to submit additional written questions after this hearing for up to two days when we had secretary perez before the committee. senator harkin only gave us one day. i would say two days, that's by the close of thursday. and then you have three or four days after the office of government ethics letter of agreement saying she has no conflict of interest is public
to decide how to vote. that seems to me to be entirely reasonable. i've already agreed to move the hearing one week at the request of the democratic and republican leadership so they could consider other nominations. and finally on the tax returns issue, it is not a requirement of this committee that nominees provide us with their tax returns. they provide us with their financial information just as senators and do, provide publicly their financial information. it is not a law that she provide her tax returns. so she is doing everything that the rules of committee say she should do. and i'm treating her in terms of questions in the same way that we treated president obama's to education secretaries. so i'm not going to have a second round. i will be happy to extend to you if you would like a chance to answer, ask questions, and then i would do the same, which is
consistent with what we did with the two previous obama secretaries. >> mr. chairman, with all due respect, this nominee is the only one did not submit an oge paperwork before our hearing. so our members have not had a chance to review it or to ask questions about it. and i appreciate private meetings. i'm sure we all do, but all of our constituents want to hear what this nominee has to say because of a vast history on the issue of education that concerns a lot of people. and let me just say that tell her son had three rounds of hearing. sessions had two rounds. carson had two rounds. so i'm unclear what education is not just as important as these others? >> if it's important under trump, it's important under obama. i don't know why suddenly we have this sudden interest, and as far as several people have
mentioned secretary paige tonight. he didn't have his office of government ethics letter in before his hearing. it came in after his hearing. the same is true with elaine chao when she became a cabinet member. so that's not been a consistent pattern either. i have tried to be as fair as i can and following what i believe to be the golden rule, and we have gone for more than three hours in an extensive hearing,, which is simply part of a discussion, as you evaluate how you going to vote. when it comes up before the committee. >> mr. chairman? >> yes. >> if the request is reasonable, we're only asking for five minutes per member. a set of issues that are this important. at the beginning of a new administration, which is a change in party. it's a new, a lot of new policies, and forward. as senator murray said, we did have died in her office, i think most of us had probably a half
an hour but our constituents are not there for half an hour. so asking for another five minutes i don't think it's anyway unreasonable. >> well, senator casey, i have enormous respect for you, but the obama administration was also a change in administration and i didn't hear any great cry for a second round of questions. this is a three-hour hearing. three hours and 10 minutes now. in addition to all the other information that is there and i don't think it's fair to expect that we will treat a republican presidents education nominee tiffani that we could a democrat nominee. >> mr. chairman, i think you're what are the fairest people in this town. you've earned that. you really are. but to me the fact that republican members of the senate did not want to ask a second one for the obama nominees.
the idea that should be a precedent for the democrats, 800 are here tonight, to ask questions, even follow-ups to questions that we have heard tonight i think is really unfair. and uncharacteristically i hope if we can't have this hearing or we can have the questions year, that we'll have another hearing. if we can't have another hearing, that we have an assurance that every single question asked by every single member of this panel submitted in writing is answer before the snow can go forward on the floor, that the paperwork is submitted before we can go forward on the vote. >> i don't think that's a satisfactory result, but if we can't ask the questions today, i hope you and the majority leader will consider this. >> i've already said that members will have an opportunity to ask questions in writing, which they already have, many of you have already done that. to ask additional questions in writing.
if you have them in by five p.m. on thursday. i also said that's one more date and senator harkin gave us when perez was labor secretary i said that's there. i said second, that we will schedule an executive session on next tuesday when we will be glad to discuss the tax return issue, whether we want to apply tax returns to future nominees who come before this committee, and we will vote on ms. devos, but only if the letter agreement where the office of government ethics is complete by this friday and made available to all members of the committee so you three or four days this year that might affect your vote. >> mr. chairman, very short question. >> senator franken. >> are we assured that before this looked on to say that have the answers to these questions? because what i've heard is that we can submit the questions, but here at least the nominee has to answer them. are you assuring us that before the vote on tuesday our
questions will of been answered? >> well, you know, the number of questions needs to be reasonable and answers need to be reasonable, and that's in the eye of the beholder sometimes. the number of questions, most number of questions that were ever asked him nominee before this committee i'm told was 191, the secretary perez. i won't say there's a certain number that is reasonable, and then i'm confident that ms. devos and make every effort to get a reasonable and as complee an answer to the question as she can. >> but the answer, we will not be assured of that? >> you will be assured that ms. devos, what would your answer to that the? will you do your best to answer the questions that you will receive after 5:00 on thursday before the possibility of a vote on next tuesday? >> would certainly endeavor to have all of the questions responded to.
>> senator baldwin? >> mr. chairman, did you make any announcements about whether there will be more than one rest of questions tomorrow when we convene to hear mr. prices, representative price -- >> i was not planning on more than one. >> because i heard there his numbers who have done the research during the course of this proceeding indicate that there been additional rounds for witnesses, or nominees who have come before this committee for other departments than education. education. and i can tell you that perhaps half, i perhaps got a chance to ask half of my questions today. tomorrow, given the breadth of that department, i have many, many more. >> well, since i'm talking a lot about precedent tonight, let me look at the precedent and see what it says. i told dr. price that in my
experience, one round of questions would pretty will do it, except usually we had senator murray and i followed up and occasionally senator warren does, a diligent member of giving and i congratulate her for that, but let me think about that. >> mr. chairman, can i just asked about the president just because i want to make sure i understand it. when we go back and examine the record when we find instances where people asked for a second round of questions and were refused? >> will you fight incidents whether asked and passionate i don't know the entity that but if you go back to president obama's to education secretaries, there was one round of five-minute questions, then the chairman asked a question and one of the senator asked a question, and that's what we're doing tonight. >> but as you said in that hearing, i think we have time for a second round. those were your words.
and then you said, senator warren, you can be the first in the second round, which i believe to mean that they're being anyone else who wanted to ask a question, they could have, but no one was refused the opportunity to ask. it's just that people were satisfied with the nominee and had no further questions. >> well, i can guarantee that many of us were not satisfied with the last nominee. but out of deference to the president and the institution, thought that it would be appropriate as 44 to the question and it is important to have a secretary in place. you're a very exceptional law professor and i don't want to get into that kind of discussion with you. my guess is, i look over there and i saw you and your asked if they could be a second rent and i said, i said yes. so i think we are the only one still in the room. we have to bring this to a conclusion.
i think ms. devos has, i think we are not going to the second rent a questions tonight. >> i just want to be clear then. this is the first time ever that someone has asked for a second round and then refused? >> no. no one ever said that except you. >> you haven't said otherwise. >> well now, that's an alice in wonderland lewis carroll would be proud of that. that's a little exceptional spirit did you say you refuse in u.s.a. growth. >> was noted i said lewis carroll would be proud of that kind reasoning. what i can sing as i look straightforwardly at the process we had with president obama's education secretaries to determine we would do the same thing the present electrons nominee. if i were to be -- president trump's nominee. she's now spend 50 50% more time here in this hearing that either secretary duncan or secretary king did for president obama. she's visited every one of your offices.
she has to go in december. nobody may time to see her in the december so she came in january. i believe that's correct. and then she received questions from you which she is going to answer. we have said she's completed the fbi background. she's followed every rule the committee has. i said we will consider the tax return question at an executive session next week about whether we want to change the rules and require that for future nominees. you can decide to do that if you wish, if you wish to do that. senators don't do it for ourselves and we don't do it for a nominees so we can talk about that. and that you will have two days to ask additional written questions, should every small number of them, she will do her best to give reasonable answers to them, and that will not go forward with a vote on next tuesday and less her letter of agreement is public by friday and available for you to review it.
so that's my decision, and i think that's what we'll do tonight. we will conclude the hearing by inviting senator murray come if she has any additional questions to ask to do that. and i will ask osama and then we will be finished. >> i take that as a definitive answer? >> that's as definitive as i can be. >> since i'll have one question i will ask when you probably won't like. ms. devos, president-elect trump was recorded bragging about kissing and groping and trying to have sex with women without their consent. he said on tape that when you are a star they let you do it. you can do anything. i was and i remain very outraged i those comments, and that outraged group following the release of the recording as a series of women came for to publicly accuse president-elect trump of exact of the type of behavior he bragged about on that tape. i take accusations of this type
of behavior very seriously. if this behavior, kissing attaching women and girls without the consent, happened in a school, would you consider a sexual assault? >> yes. >> one in five young women will experience sexual assault while in college. we're joined tonight by several sexual assault survivors who are brave enough to come here tonight because this issue is so important to them. can you promise them and me that you will not, as has been in the press, considered quote, reining in the office for civil rights and the departments work to protect students from campus sexual assault? >> senator, if confirmed, i commit that i will be looking very closely at how this has been regulated and handled, and with great sensitivity to those who are victims and also considering perpetrators as well. well.
but please know that i am very sensitive -- >> i have heard you say that, but you will not take back the words that you will reign in the office for civil rights? >> i do believe those with the words that i used. >> that is a quote that is been attributed to you. i think senator casey on this as well. this is extremely important to women and men across the country, and i hope that you will take back the words of reining in the office of civil rights and the departments work on sexual soul. mr. chairman, i'm going to turn to senator hassan for the last part of my questions. >> thank you, senator murray. just two quick things, is the boss. i just wanted to clarify the issue about whether you were on the board of your mothers foundation. i have my 90s up through 2013 where you are listed as the vice president and a board member. was that just mistake on your part? >> that was a clerical and/or. i can assure you i've never made
decisions on my mothers behalf on her foundation board speaks of the listings that you are the vice president of the board is incorrect? >> that is incorrect. >> thank you to the other thing i just wanted to circle back to, i want to go back to the individuals with disabilities education act. that's a federal civil rights law. so do you stand by your statement a few minutes ago that it should be up to the states whether to follow it? >> the law must be, federal law must be followed where federal dollars are in play. >> were you unaware when i just asked about the idna that it was a federal? >> i may have confused it. >> do you give guarantees absolute basic protection to sit with disposed to ensure that they are afforded a high-quality education with their peers? one of the reasons that it is difficult to add this hearing and feel that we fully understand your perspective is because we do know that children
with disabilities and only some of the voucher programs that you supported have gone with a voucher to a school. because of their disability had to leave the school. the school keeps the money and they go back to public schools that not even less resources to deal with them. many of us see this as the potential for turning our public schools into warehouses for the most challenging kids with disabilities or other kinds of particular issues. or the kids whose parents can't afford to make up the difference between the pouch and the casa private school tuition. i just would urge you to become familiar should you be nominated with the individuals with disposed of education act, additive to say i'm concerned that you seem so unfamiliar with it and that you seem to support voucher schools that are not honored, have made students sign away their rights to make sure that the law is enforced. that's very troubling to me. >> senator, i assure you that if confirmed, i will be very
sensitive to the needs of special needs students and the policies surrounding that. >> with all due respect it's not about sensitivity, although if that helps. it's about being willing to enforce the law to make sure that my child and every child has the same access to public education, high quality public education. and the reality is the way the voucher systems that you supported work don't always come out that way. that's why it's something we need to continue to explore. thank you spirit thank you, senator hassan, senator murray. thank you, ms. devos, for being here. i appreciate your being here for three hours and 50 minutes and giving as a chance to ask questions. you have set a record in terms of the last three education secretaries in any event. i'm going to put in the record with consent a letter from the log cabin republicans who wrote to me as chairman of the committee about a suggestion
that you might be anti-day. according to gregory angelo, president, he said far from being an anti-gay firebreather, mr. bosch actually has a history of working with a senior advisor was accosted by a singer who threaten to make a sexual orientation and that a public record, because of his opposition to a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, ms. devos put an end to the bullying and harassment. in 2013 ms. devos voss called for the resignation of the republican national committee men dave kojima for posting abilities and vitriolic anti-gay statements online. ms. devos should be commended for proving the differences of opinion related to marriage equality do not equate to anti-gay annulus log cabin republicans stand in support of her nomination for secretary of education and encourage for a swift confirmation. senators wish to ask additional
questions of our nominee, those are due by the close of business on thursday january 19. for all other matters bearing record will remain open for 10 days. members may submit additional information for the record within that time the next jury of our committee will be tomorrow morning at 10:00 of the nomination of tom price for united states secretary of health and human services. thank you for being here -- >> i also have a letter i would like to have for the record as well from the massachusetts charter public schools, charter public school association raising questions about accountability. there are strong supporters of charter schools that they are very concerned about ms. devos is record with accountability for charter schools in michigan. >> thank you, senator warren. it will be included in the record. the committee will stand adjourned. >> mr. chairman?
>> let me -- >> i had a suggestion i hoped would resolve the problem earlier which by extent as under rule 26, the standing rules of the senate, three of us have the right to ask you to call minority witnesses before the committee for whom, to whom we could address questions. and maybe that's a way through this. so i would make that request, a sunni -- >> that request has been made earlier and i denied it but we have not done that, and my experience, that would, our tradition is to invite the nominee, asked the nominees questions, which we have done. they go through the process, which i described at length. i appreciate your request, but i'm not going to agree to it. the committee is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> u.s. senate is about to gavel into session after remarks from the majority and minority leaders, senators will resume consideration of the nomination of betsy devos to be the next education secretary. the senate voted on friday to move forward with her nomination. two republicans susan collins and lisa murkowski have
announced they will vote no on the nomination. to follow other republicans vote yes and all democrats about no, that would make the vote on her confirmation 50-50 and that would require vice president mike pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. the confirmation vote is scheduled for tomorrow. now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black , will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. gracious god of infinite goodness, confirm your past mercies to us by empowering us to be faithful to your commands. help our lawmakers, this day, to