tv Education Secretary Addresses Department Employees for First Time CSPAN February 13, 2017 10:10am-10:32am EST
>> today at the white house. after the two leaders meet, they will hold a news conference. c-span3 will have live coverage of that starting 2:00 p.m. eastern. also coming up live this afternoon on c-span3, senate democrats led by minority leader charles schupper plan a news conference at 5:30 eastern. -- schumer. ahead of treasury secretary vote talking about steve mnuchin the nominee and president's plan to trim regulations on wall street. live coverage on c-span3 at 5:30 p.m. eastern. >> this morning educators and legal experts will discuss the state of school financing in the u.s. at the american enterprise institute. we'll take you there live in about 20 minutes from now at 10:30 eastern when that event gets started. until then, remarks from education secretary betsy he devos who was confirmed by the senate and sworn in by vice president pence last week. she introduced herself to education department employees
on wednesday. >> good afternoon. >> good afternoon. >> that is a good greeting. i'm phil rosen felt, now the acting general counsel forethe department. [laughter]. [applause] >> i was hoping for a standing ovation but. [laughter] >> got more here. >> that's true. i have had the pleasure, the honor and the privilege to serve with all of you in the department as the acting secretary for a couple of weeks. actually two weeks, three days,
but who's counting? when i came to the department or its predecessor just a few years ago, well maybe a little more than that, i was attracted to public service. i swore to uphold the constitution which is at the core of our government and the heart of our mission at the department. while education is not mentioned specifically in the constitution it's at the heart of the opportunity that the constitution provides for our nation. each day when we walk into lbj or pcp, or ucp, sorry for all the acronyms or the regional offices, we are all guided by education's mission, to promote student achievement and prepare for global competitiveness by
fostering educational excellence and insuring equal access. when many of us, the people on the stage, were asked to take on acting roles during a transition, we vowed to help make this a smooth and very successful transition. and to once again dem straight the peaceful and effective continuity of our government, and i think with the help of the new members of our team, the beachhead team, the landing team, and all of the people that have been brought to the government new to the department, we have done a really good job of transition, and i'm proud of what all of the people on the stage have done and all of you out in the
audience, or watching on streaming. it has been truly a team effort. and we were proud to deliver on that promise. the last night i had the honor of attending the swearing-in of secretary devos and i was inspired once again by the words of the oath of office and the commitment that i saw in our new secretary's voice. now i've been through a number of transitions. i won't say how many, and what i've learned is each is different. some are easier than others. some are more complicated, some more simpler but all of them we have made ultimately work well. and with all of the people in the department and our new team, i am hopeful that this transition will be one of the most successful ones we've ever
had. at the department, when we do transition, we build on past successes, when they continued work for students. we look at new ways of doing things, new thinking. we take a step back and see whether there is different way to do it from a different perspective. sometimes we change course. we're always nimble, innovative, thoughtful, creative and open to new ideas. we listen well and we always keep students in mind. that has been the spirit that i have seen this transition working. our mission is equity and opportunity. no students rights are less important than another students rights. all are equal and all should receive a quality education.
every day i see in the people i meet coming to work, in the meetings i attend, the conference calls i'm on, and all of the work we do, that commitment flows through throughout all of that work. i'm proud to be a part of that work. listening to the views and recommendations from staff who have years of experience and people who are new to the government as well. the mix of experience, new ideas, and innovation, it is at the heart of education. our work is not easy but it's necessary. some days it's hard and challenging but we stay true to our mission and we succeed, and
as we continue to fulfill our mission there may be changes where we get to where we want to go for students. there may even be mistakes and bumps along the road, and we will correct them and always do our best work. from the lens of an acting secretary which i have had the privilege to do the last two weeks, so we won't mention hours and minutes, i now know better than ever, that our success is tied to the hard work of each and everyone of the people that work at the department. our leadership through every individual that works here. i learned that there are some things that go on that really rely on the team work of every office and every office should be able to see themselves in that work.
i wake up to work every day with all of you. i always knew that the education department is the best place to work. not to put a plug in. [applause] but now, i really know why. working as acting secretary for a brief time. i saw the work, i saw the people, i saw the commitment. i saw the people together, the parents, families, the teachers, the school administrators. it is the new innovation, the ways that work well, and ways to improve that keep us dedicated toward a higher calling with secretary devos. our mission and goals remain
steadfast and fixed on helping individuals help themselves through education. we make get there in different ways, and all of it i will be proud of the work we do through the exciting future. all of you here and in the in d.c. and in regions know we can never abandon our constitutional pledge or our desire to serve all of our students and help them succeed. and on a personal note i had the privilege of going on a tour of our two buildings outside of this in d.c., pcb and ucp, sorry about the acronyms, walking with the secretary around meeting with all of the employees in those buildings, and it was an incredible thing. i felt like i should be taking
field trips like that all the time. i walked around with the biggest smile i possibly could. last time i had a smile like that, one of my daughters weddings when two families were coming together to merge as one. i am so proud of them. today i was so proud of the two families coming together to form a better family of ed because we are family. we work together well. and i know that with secretary devos it is going to be a great family together. , so we are one team and it gives me great pleasure and privilege to introduce the new secretary who will lead our team very, very well. secretary devos. thank you. [applause]
>> well, good afternoon. thanks for gathering, or for taking a few minutes to tune in from your offices around the department, and thank you for your welcome. i have been eager to get here around meet everyone, and as phil said, we had a great tour this morning of the other two buildings. i look forward to doing the same here this afternoon. i'm guessing you already know but my name is betsy and i'm here with you, alongside you, to serve our nation's students. we hear at the department of education are fortunate to join an incredible array of parents, teachers, educators, and school leaders to serve all of america's students.
and it is such a pleasure to finally be here and i'm really pleased that my husband dick could join today too. he has been amazing partner for nearly 38 years. in the past weeks has been unfaltering in his support and encouragement. i'm so greatful for him and my family. [applause] this is humbling and exciting opportunity to serve. let me start simply by saying thank you to each of you. those here in the department, and those across the country who work to make education better. let me specifically note and thank phil rosenfelt. you all know phil. you just heard from him. i have quickly learned he is a well-respected and familiar face around here, and as he mentioned, his service predates the department of education. while phil and i met just a
short time ago, i know he has done an outstanding job as acting secretary. phil was gracious enough to join -- and i'm grateful for his steady leadership these past two weeks and that of the entire department of education transition team who have all joined on stage here. let's thank all of them. [applause] the work of the department during this transition is a testament to phil's selfless leadership and long stand commitment to the department's mission. again, thank you, phil, and thank you transition team. americans have tremendous respect for all of those within and outside of these walls who work to make more opportunity available through better education. so, let's turn now to recent headlines. there is no need to pull any
punches. for me personally this confirmation process and the drama it enagain -- engendered has been a bit of a bear. [laughter] [applause] in all seriousness, for many the events of last few weeks likely raised more questions and spawned more confusion than they have brought light and clarity. so for starters, please know, i'm a door open type of person who listens -- i am here to serve with you. i'm committed to working with everyone and anyone from every corner of the country, from every walk of life, from every background, and with those who supported my nomination, and those who did not, to protect, strengthen, and create new world-class education opportunities for america's student.
let's acknowledge, we have just come through one of the most bruising, divisive elections in modern times and that's okay. [inaudible] we the people are resilient. often the morning and evening news cycles make it hard for -- to unite our nation. the rhetoric and the words can get hot and heated, and the animosity often seems unending, and that's okay too. people are passionate and moved by deeply-held views. we're a plural listtic culture and we must celebrate our differences but all of us here can help bring unity by personally committing to being more open to, and patient towards views different than our own. a key to our nation's future is resident in the dna of the department of education. it is in who we serve, the rising generation.
every child in america is born with inate curiosity and each is -- [inaudible] sometimes those students, they gather in classrooms, sometimes in hall he lowed lecture halls, sometimes in their home classroom or sometimes in nature itself. some are nontraditional students. some seem traditional but each of them holds special -- and amazing promise. together we have a noble and mission to serve. there is no greater achievement in the world than postively changing the life of a child by bending the arc or breaking the cycle through education. this is what motivates me. this is why education as a lifelong pursuit is my passion. and i know this is a passion we share. from students who may be
struggling to hard-working teachers who feel stifled, special needs students and families to whom we owe our full support, and leaders and administrators seeking clarity and evidence-based solutions, the department has a complex population to champion. even though i'm a grandmother, since this is my first day, i know i'm the newbie and a i have a lot to learn. i pledge to listen and learn from you and from stakeholders around our country. i hope to earn your trust and confidence as we work together. i firmly believe we can genuinely unite around commitment to the rising generation. let's make this deal. i will challenge all on how and why we have done things a certain way but i will listen to each of you on your ideas how we can do better for students. you are professionals who i am respecting.
building vuong teams and embracing diversity and inclusion are key elements of success. diversity may be viewed as cliche but i believe getting to know, working with, bee fending and including people who are different from ourselves is enriching and expanding, and if we model it ourselves how much easier will it be to encourage students to do the same. in addition to modeling inclusion, and a love of lifelong learning, the the department has a unique role protecting students. we believe students deserve learning environments that foster innovation and curiosity and are also free from harm. i'm committed to working with you to make this the case. [applause] the obstacles between our nation's students and their
pursuit of excellence can all be overcome. they are human problems. all too often adult issues can complicate and get in the way of a focus upon those we serve. the good news is, we can all work together to find solutions and make them happen. i'm reminded of the ancient council to act justly, with kindness and proceed with humility. . .
let's set an example by being sincere and honest, passionate but civil. while never losing sight of our shared mission. to everyone on this team my challenge to you is simple. think big, be bold, an act to serve students. and i will promise you this. together we will find new ways in which we can positively transform education. it's day one for me, but it's simply the next dat day in this department history to pursue its mission. i'm ready to work with you. let's get started. thank you. [applause]