Education Secretary Nominee Betsy De Vos Testifies at Confirmation Hearing CSPAN January 17, 2017 5:14pm-8:46pm EST
>> the hearing of the health and education committee will come to order. this considers the nomination of betsy devos for secretary of education. i will makeay and an opening statement. scott,ome senator senator lieberman, a former member of this body, who will make introductory remarks. following the nominee's comments, we will have a five-minute round of questions. one note -- we have capital officers here today that will remove anyone who attempts to disrupt the hearing. this is the first meeting of this committee in the new congress. this is a committee that will probably become evident that has some considerable differences of opinion on a variety of issues. we have found we can sometimes
result them in important ways. last year, we passed what the majority leader senator mcconnell said was the most important bill in congress, 21st century cures. the year before, no child left behind which president obama called a christmas miracle and 33 other bills signed. i want to thank senator murray and the democrats and republicans on the committee for operating in that fashion. we have done that by showing courtesy to ourselves and witnesses which i hope will be evident today. before my opening remarks, i would like to make a word about process. more than 25 years ago, i was sitting where you are sitting. as the nominee for u.s. acretary of education, and former senator from ohio said to me, well, i've heard some disturbing things about you, but i will not bring them up here.
kassebaum said, i think you just did. with that, he put a secret hold on the. we don't have to go through that because we abolished secret holds. we will apply the golden rule from the book of matthew which applies the same procedures to you that we used in 2001 and for president george w. bush's education secretary nominee. and in 2009 and 2016 for presid. for president obama's education secretary nominee. we will consider you and then vote just as we did did. the first education secretary under president obama, he was confirmed a week later. onn king, the hearing was february 25 and was confirmed to win a half weeks later. we have received from this is the boss -- mrs. devos, the
committee's required forms. they have to be in mor e than a week in advance. the fbi background check has been done. she provided the ethics with relevant information about her financial affairs. we will have a letter from that office on how, which will be an agreement between mrs. devos and that office, on how to deal with any conflicts of interest before we vote in committee on her nomination. has met with us in each of 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 for both of president
obama's education nominees. that was the case for me too in 1991. in those cases following the firemen around, the chairman and one memorable ask additional questions and we will do that again. i will ask questions and ask senator murray if she would like to do the same. each of us will have a chance to ask additional questions in a bysonable number in writing the close of business on thursday at 5 p.m. we will meet in executive session next tuesday to consider mrs. devos' nomination and other business if the final office of government ethics letters received by this friday in order to give senators a chance to review it. now, following my opening remarks, senator murray will be hers and then we will hear from senator scott and senator
lieberman and hear from mrs. devos. children's is on our side. she has devoted her life to helping mainly low income children have better choices of schools. the criticism i have heard amounts to three things -- one, she supports public charter schools. two, she supports giving lower income parents more choices of schools. three, she has user 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, union rules, so teachers have more freedom to teach and parents have more freedom to pick the school that best suits their child. in 1991 and 1992, president h w
bush proposed start from scratch schools. he raised $70 million for new american school development to encourage innovative ideas. as my lastjanuary, act as education secretary, i wrote every single superintendent a country and asked them to try something that was invented in minnesota by the democratic farmer labor party, something called charter schools. been broad there has support for the idea. the late head of the american federation of teachers endorsed those charter schools. in 1997, president clinton said we need 3000 charter schools by 2002. senator hillary clinton supported charter schools. president george w. bush supported charter schools. president obama supports charter schools. arne duncan described himself as
a strong supporter of charter schools. john king founded a charter school and ran a system of charter schools. 1998,ss in 1994 and 2005, always bipartisan and supported charter schools. 43 states and the district of columbia operate charter schools. those 12ly 30 years, labor chartermer schools in minnesota have grown to 6800 public charter schools. 6% of america's public school students attend them. who is in the mainstream? the democratic farmer labor party, president bush, clinton, bush, obama, the last six education secretary's, the u.s. congress, the district of devos andor mrs. her critics? i think she is in the
mainstream. the other criticism -- giving low income parents more choices of schools, more specifically the objection is public money should not follow poor children to an accredited school of their parents choice. arguing against that is arguing against the most successful social policy this congress has ever acted, the g.i. bill for veterans, which appropriated federal dollars to follow veterans to the school of their choice -- notre dame, university of tennessee, any accredited institution. it produced the greatest generation and it produced the model for all of our federal aid for colleges. grants.ion in pell they followed the student to the school of their choice. newly 100 billion in student loans. why is such a great idea for college students deemed to be a 2angerous idea for k-1 labor
students. competition creates the best colleges in my produce the best -- and might produce the vessels -- the best schools. today, 50 states provide parents more choices of public schools, 15% attend a school other than their school of residence through open enrollment. 44 states allow sending students outside their district. 34 states within their district. nearly 400,000 children are served by 50 private school choice programs across 25 states, the district of columbia. congress passed bipartisan legislation with senator lieberman at the head of it, creating the voucher program, helping 62 100 children. more than 1000 children standing in line waiting for that opportunity.
there has been growing support since president h.w.many of us h kids,ed the bill for where in 2015, 45 united states senators supported scholarships for kids that i proposed an senator scott proposed for students with disabilities. globalng to the 2013 public opinion survey, 73% of americans support school choice. 64% said it given the financial opportunity, they would send one or all of their children to a different school. who is in the mainstream? or veterans,familiaill f 25 states, congress, 45 u.s. senators in 2015, 70 3% of americans -- 73% of americans, mrs. devos or her critics.
the final criticism is she has use her wealth to support these ideas. i think she deserves credit for that, not criticism. she a have been happier if spent her time and money trying to did i children more choices -- deny children more choices. we are fortunate that betsy devos is the nominee for the education secretary. she has been in support of children. i support her confirmation and look forward to working with her. sen. murray: i look forward to working with you and all of our colleagues in congress. i want to welcome our new members on this committee. thank you for joining us today. to the rest of your family who has joined you as well. this is the first of many hearings we will be to the restr holding on president-elect trump's nominee
to fill critical positions in the federal government. i want to start by reiterating the importance of the senate's role in the process and this committee's role. president trump has the right to fill his cabinet with people he thinks will fill out positions for our country. that does not mean the senate should be a rubberstamp. 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. he's openly flouting ethics conventions regarding his personal and family businesses. some people say this means the for ethicsn lowered and public service. i refuse to accept that and will
continue to hold the incoming administration to the highest ethical standard. this is what the american people deserve, regardless of who they voted for, where their tax dollars is going. i believe in an administration where conflicts of interest will be blurred at the top, then he to be even clear at individual agencies. we work to ensure the highest ethical standards are maintained and there is accountability to taxpayers from the top of the government all the way down. i'm going to continue pushing for robust scrutiny of every one of these nominees and i appreciate that mrs. devos has said to me she knows the importance of transparency and openness. she will make sure that no corners are cut in will go to great lengths -- and will go to great lengths. i'm 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 and sinc consisted in having an ethics in hand before moving to a hearing. mcconnell wrote a letter to senator reid with that explicitly, with a background check before the hearing. i'm extremely concerned and i can only hope cutting corners and rushing nominees through will not be the new norm. we are here today to hear from president elect's nominee to lead the department of education. as a former teacher and school board member and fighting for public investments in early learning, i take this issue very seriously. i owe everything i have to strong public schools. i was able to attend with my six
brothers and sisters. none of us in our family would have been able to go to college were it not for federal support. we have those opportunities because of our government and was committed in investing in us, i know that is not the case for every student today. although we have a long way to go, i'm committed to making sure the federal government is a strong partner to our public schools districts and states. that every student has access to a high-quality education that allows them to succeed. we focus our federal policies and investment in strengthening public schools for all students, taxpayerinly not dollars to fund vouchers that do not work for unaccountable private schools. that is why i was proud to work with chairman alexander and so many others to pass the act that gives flexibility to states and
school districts, but also includes strong accountability for our schools and reiterates our nation's commitment to strengthening public education, especially for our vulnerable students. this commitment goes beyond -- the federal government in general and the department of education specifically has an important role of 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. leading this agency is a big job. it is an important job and i consider it to be my job to do everything i can to make sure whoever fills this is truly committed to putting students and families first. mrs. devos, i'm looking forward to hearing your answers to some questions as i have a number of very serious concerns that need to be addressed. first, i want to learn more
about your extensive financial entanglements and potential conflicts of interests. as a billionaire with investments through complex financial instruments, many of which that were nontransparent, you need to make it clear that you will avoid conflicts of interest if confirmed. that goes to your investments and a web of investments made by your immediate family. despite starting out on the wrong track by not having an ethics letter complete before this yea hearing, i appreciate what you are doing to provide the committee information to understand how you will intend to have a highest level of ethics. so far, no calls to release three years of tax returns, but i hope you will consider it and cooperate fully. i have major concerns without you spend your career and fortune fighting to privatize
public education and gut investments in public schools. i have specific questions on how the privatization policies you have pushed at impacted students and how you intend to use 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 want to know more about the large contributions you have made to group that are ideologically opposed to workers and teachers and want to impose anti-lgbt or anti-women's believes on public schools. i want to make sure you publicly commit to implementing our every student succeeds act by having strong federal guardrails in that. i want to know how you will tackle the persistent achievement gap. while you have been outspoken on is notsues, your record
clear in critical areas. i want to learn more on how you will approach higher education and whether or not we can count on you to stand with students and borrowers. interested in your thoughts ix, how we can do everything possible to stop the scourge of sexual assault on campus. i was not happy when we talk about this issue when we met. i'm ix, how we can do everything possible to stop the scourge hoping you have learnede about it and will address it seriously. i want to know how your personal religious and ideological views on women's health impacts how you approach this issue. i'm very concerned with what has been reported in the press about views views on the importance f the office of civil rights which works to help those with disabilities, lgbt, women and girls, students of our colors to make sure they are treated with dignity and respect. i want to know how you will
enforce critical civil rights laws. as my colleagues know, i hav e e a passion for early learning and i want to know where you stand and how the government can child to prepare for success in kindergarten. i'm looking forward to a robust dialogue tonight. i'm hoping you are transparent about your views, open about your record and its impact on students, and willing to make some straightforward commitments regarding the responsibility of this department. i will be asking you to commit this committee with additional information and responses to all reasonable follow-up questions as quickly as possible. i'm hoping this can be a smooth process. mr. chairman, my members are here tonight and are hoping for more than five minutes of questions on this nominee. i hope you will consider doing that. chairman al this committee with additionalexander: i will follow the golden rule.
it to mrs. apply devos. we will have a five-minute round of questions. ask questions after that for another five minutes. that is what we have done before. members of this committee have met with mrs. devos. some have already asked her questions and will have two more days to think of more and she has to answer them before we vote. as far as tax returns, if you would like to bring that up, we can in our next executive theion on the 24th if government ethics letter is completed by friday. i will note committee rules do not require tax returns to be recorded by presidential nominees. we did not require it of president obama's two nominees
for education secretary. rules,ant to change the we can do that but i am not in favor of changing the rules in the middle of the process. >> may i ask a point of order? i believe we have a second round with the john king hearings. chairman alexander: in each of the john king, in the last two nominees, mr. duncan and mr. king, we had a five-minute round and the chairman and one senator, one other senator asked five minutes of questions. i will ask five minutes of questions and give senator murray the opportunity. askedould just say nobody for additional time at that point. i hope we hear members questions and have an opportunity to revisit. i appreciateander:
the request, but i will not change the rules in the middle of the game. sen. murray: i was not aware they were rules. i appreciate the request, but i willchairmant for both the president obama's and do the same thing. >> i was not aware there was a precedent. chairman alexander: it is as clear as i can think of. lettersld like expressing concern oto this nomination to be placed in the record. chairman alexander: they will be. we welcome betsy devos, your husband, son, daughter-in-law and our other guests. mrs. devos will be introduced first my senator tim scott, a strong champion of education. and then she will be introduced by senator joe lieberman who served for 34 years before retiring in 2013. thank you both for joining us. i've already said what i had to
say about mrs. devos. i think she will be in excellen -- an excellent secretary of education. we will go our head to senator scott's introduction and then senator lieberman. and then we will hear from mrs. devos and then we will hear the questions. sen. scott: i'm surprised the number of folks showed up here for senator lieberman's introduction. very well done. i've know the devos family for about three decades. it was a part of one of the companies. i'm very thankful a champion of andic education, education specifically a champion of education for poor kids sits to my left. i will recall my own upbringing
as a ki poor kid. i attended four different schools. it is important to realize the impact it has on poor kids. i'm excited about this transition, looking forward to the opportunity of having betsy devos as our champion for all children, all education, but specifically what i call high potential kids. for the last 28 years, she has been a champion for those kids. a lifelong resident of michigan, she attended calvin college in grand rapids. she is a businesswoman and entrepreneur. she is a chairman of the american federation for children . for those of you who may not know her, she had a humble beginning. her parents mortgaged everything a smallad to start
auto-parts business. she still remembers when she was seven years old, helping her cinderblock a building that became the office of the first manufacturing location. it was steel blue. during the summer months in college, betsy worked the third shift at her family's 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 successfully advocated for expansion of education opportunity in dozens of states. husband helped her launch a charter school in grand rapids which is now one of the highest performing charter schools in our home state. i have been to that school, way before there was any idea that
she might one day sit here before this committee. way before we assumed there could be a trump candidacy. several years ago, i visited the high school and had a chance to sit at lunch and talk to the kids. understand and appreciate their hunger for education was stirred by the devos family, their 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, conditional or -- 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 is holding all
place, but to actually hold schools accountable for the results they have. what she supportsschools accounr they are traditional public schools or charter schools. bless you. mrs. devos is clearly not a opposed to accountability. she's opposed holding some schools accountable but not all schools. what she is opposed to his leaving children trapped in schools that we know, we know are failing. students thatry will have no hope if they do not receive a high quality education. bless you. only one more left. parents and students cannot ask for a better role model ora a more thoughtful leader to move the education system into the 21st century. she questions, she considers. then, and only then, will she
act. these are the traits of a leader and a doer. i look forward to supporting her nomination throughout the next few weeks. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman alexander: senator, lieberman, welcome. sen. lieberman: a special hello to chris murray, my friend and successor. it is great to be back in the senate today to introduce betsy devos for your consideration as the next secretary of education. i met betsy 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. way i left the senate, as a to continue my own work in education reform, i became a
member of the board of american federation for children, the nonprofit organization that betsy devos founded to provide better education options for lower income children throughout america. i'm very proud of what the afc has achieved, particularly at the state level. more than 400,000 lower income families have been empowered with financial support to take their children out of schools where they thought the kids were not getting an adequate education and put them into schools that they thought were better. democrat, it is gratifying that many of these afc state programs have been enacted with bipartisan support gratifying that many of these in state legislatures. none of the progress by which the afc has achieved, very
specifically for those 400,000 kids, would have occurred without betsy's leadership which is inclusive. she is disciplined, organized, knows how to set goals and develop practical plans. she is really a purpose driven team builder. i have seen that in my membership of the board of the afc. i understand the department of education is bigger than anything she, or for that matter, most any of us has ever led. everything i have seen tells me that betsy is ready to take on this assignment and do it very well. i know that some people are questioning her qualifications secretary of education. too many of those questions seem to be based on the fact she does not come from within the
education establishment. but, honestly, i believe that today, that is one of the most important qualifications you can have for this job. she has many others. she is a mother, grandmother. she cares about children more generally and has been involved in education, like so many parents and local citizens board members for over 30 years. her involvement has not only been an advocate for reform, though she has been a real leader, she also mentors students in the public schools of grand rapids, michigan. another important qualification i think she has for this job. the rightsk questions. such as, is this federal education program working? is it giving our kids the
education they need to live productive and satisfying lives? if not, how could we improve it? facts ofation of the the state of american education today makes clear that although h federal education programs are working for many of our children, they are failing millions of others. here a few of the salient and troubling facts. among all students of all income of highless than 40% school graduates are college or career ready, according to the act. a recent report said only 35% of eighth graders were proficient on the naet reading exam and only 34% on the math exam.
only two thirds of eighth graders are not proficient in reading in math. unders the middle ranking it. students, in te fallscational status quo, disproportionately heavily. too many disproportionately heavily. too many ways to illustrate this, but let me 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 one-third.ea-- at least than 1.1 millionsome, as many mo not make it to high school graduation. these schools primarily educate low-income students and students of color. rate highgraduation
schools are located in both urban and rural areas. new york has 199 of them. georgia, 115. california, 105. alabama and mississippi, more than 50 each. 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 cannot accept the status quo in education anymore. change change our education reform. a leader that has one big ol goal to give every child in
america i first class education. -- a first-class education. that is exactly the kind of education secretary i believe betsy devos can and will be. because betsy has been fighting disrupting the status quo for so long, her nomination is naturally controversial. after all, she has directly challenged the education establishment by supporting charter schools and other programs. i can tell you 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 kids trapped in bad public schools. until we can make more of her public schools as good as they should be. is it fai jto stand back and
not help the parents who want buter for their children, cannot get it because they cannot afford it? i sits it acceptable to have soe children from all income groups graduate from our high schools unprepared for but cannot get it because they cannot afford it? i sit college and the high-tech economy. it is not. that's why members of the committee, i hope you will confirm betsy devos' nomination. i think it is 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 all of our children. thank you very much. chairman alexander: thank you, senator lieberman. before i introduce, or welcome mrs. devos, i would like to enter 97 letters of support for mrs. devos as education secretary from a variety of groups. mrs. devos?
mrs. devos: thank you, chairman. chairman alexander, ranking member murray, senators, thank you for the opportunity to be with you. you, senator scott and lieberman, for those very kind words of introduction. i honor and applaud your lifelong edging -- dedication to the success of our nation's students. i want to begin by thanking my family for their support. many of them seated behind me here, except for my five grandchildren. the oldest is five so it was not advisable they joined us. i'm honored president-elect trump has asked me to join his team and i am grateful for his dedication to education. i look forward to working with him, vice president elect pence, and all of you to bring educational opportunity to every family. while we may have differences, i
think we can all agree that learning is a lifelong pursuit and a fundamental american virtue. we are blessed beyond measure with educators for themselves that pourdents -- themselves into students. all of us here in our children have attended a mix of publicly funded and private schools. this is a reflection of the diversity that is today's public education. growing up in michigan, i attended local christian schools and then calvin college. my greatest influence was a public school teacher named el sa prince. herhis day, i just called mom. when dick and i became parents, education became a whole new meaning. we understood that other parents could not make similar decisions
on their child's education based on their income or zip code. when our oldest reached school christiannt to a school that serves many low income families. we saw the struggles and sacrifices many of these families face when trying to choose the best educational option for their children. for me, this was not just an issue of public policy, but of national injustice. i committed to do something about it and it has become my life's work. i have loved the great work of the potter house and the co-founder that is with us today. he and his team are doing a great job. here is the sad reality -- in the past 28 years, the need and demand for these other options have grown unabated. i share fo president-elect trump's views to what parents want
and deserve. payments do not believe a one-size-fits-all model of learning fits the need of every child and a no other options exist. whether it is magnet, virtual, charter, home, or any other combination. yet, too many parents are denied access to the options, choices many of us have exercised for our own children. why in 2017 are we still questioning parents ability to exercise educational toys for children? i'm a firm believer that parents should be empowered to choose the best learning children? i'm environment for their children. the vast majority of students will continue to attend public schools. if confirmed, i will be a strong advocate for great public schools. if a school is troubled or unsafe or not a good fit, perhaps they have a special need
that is going unmet, we should support a parent's right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative. it is pretty simple. every child in america deserves to be in a safe environment that is free from discrimination. every student in america dreams of developing his or her's unique talents and gifts. every parent dreams of a future where their children has access to schools with a safe environment that successfully prepares them for a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow. every teacher in america dreams of breaking free from standardization so that they can deploy their unique creativity. our schools are filled with talented and devoted professionals who meet the needs of many students. even our best schools do not work for all. this is not the fault of teachers, but a reality that all students are unique, learn
differently and excel at their own pace. students also face newalso challenges today. our high school graduates are having difficulty accessing affordable high education. tuition is forcing students out of college. others are burdened with debts that will take years or decades to pay off. wand to makeagic the debt go away, but we do need to take action. it would be a mistake to shift that burdened a struggling taxpayers without first addressing my tuition has gotten so high. for starters, we need to embrace new pathways of learning. for too long, a college degree has been pushed is the only avenue for a better life, the old and expensive brick-mortar model is notivy the only one that will lead to a prosperous future. cressman ship is a noble pursuit
-- craftsmanship is a noble pursuit. president-elect trump and i agree we need to support all post secondary avenues, including trade and vocational schools and community colleges. every one of these issues, congress will play a vital role. if confirmed, i look forward to to findingh you 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 isn't implement it as congress -- isn't limited as congress intended. i look forward to working with congress and all stakeholders to reauthorize the higher education act to meet the needs of today's college students. knowdent-elect trump and i that it will not be washington, d.c. that unlocks our nation's
potential, nor a bigger bureaucracy or a federal agency. andanswer is local control listening to parents, students, and teachers. for nearly three decades, i have been involved in education, as a volunteer, and advocate for children, and as a voice for parents. i have worked as an in school mentor for students in grand rapids and have had the privilege of interacting with students and their families and teachers in ways that have changed my life and my perspective about education forever. governors,ed with legislators, and business and community leaders to expand educational opportunities through options that are making a lifetime of difference for hundreds of thousands of kids this year alone. i have 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. is simple. i trust parents and i believe in our children.
the opportunity to appear before you. i look forward to answering your questions. chairman alexander: thank you, mr. voss. -- ms. devos. we will begin with senator enzi, and then to senator murray. i want to welcome you here and thank you for being willing to take on this kind of a project and to appear before i look forward to working with you as we consider your nomination and after that. you are going to beginning dealing with a great variety of states from high population to low population. i happened to come from the lowest population state. it has some special challenges in education, rural and frontier challenges. we don't allow a child to travel
more than an hour by bus to work from school. as a result, we have some schools that have one or two students. it is a little different situation than was even envisioned with no child left behind, so i am glad we changed the ssa -- essa. report, and i17 am pleased that wyoming was right number seven of the 50 .tates in the area of financing education, we were number one. that comes at a time when our stages going through economical suffering because of the obama --inistrations for administration's war on: fossil fuel. fossil fuel. but rural frontier has special problems. part of them are the submission
of some of the applications and some of the applicable reports have no bearing on what we are important that is when we have the rural aspect as well as the indian reservation with the home of two tribes. student succeeds, their provisions to reduce the department's workforce, with the return of education authority to the states, it is important that that workforce the reduced to ensure that more educational 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 fored the cost projections the income driven college loan repayment program are tens of billions of dollars higher than the original estimates.
those estimates were based on data and accounting methods or were deeply flawed area -- or were deeply flawed. you will inherit that. there was the omission of key information. as an accountant, i was appalled. the career and technical education that you mentioned. i appreciate your emphasis on the value of craftsmanship and technology. i just saw the movie "hidden figures" that introduced people to computers and the value of women in the workplace to get them in the space. 6 of my schools that do not participate in career technical education funding because the low population gives them such a low amount of funding that it is not worth doing it, and that needs to change. , one of the most
important jobs you will have is the implementation of every student succeeds act. with what you said about it. can you talk about your plans to engage rural and frontier state communities in that process? ms. devos: thank you for that question. , enjoyed that meeting in your office. i enjoyed hearing about the special needs of schools like the school that has the grizzly bear fence surrounding it. i think that is a unique need to wyoming, certainly. , rural schools and rural settings require different approaches in different options. i refer to the every student succeeds act, and i think the implementation of that and wyoming's plan for that will be particularly important to recognize the unique needs of the rural population that you
have as well as 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 a situation, and the possibility that course choices or online courses could be offered in ways that they may not have been previously. if confirmed, i would look forward to working with you and some of your other colleagues that face the same types of challenges such as senator collins and senator murkowski. i would work with you to address specific needs of rural communities and high rural population states. sen. enzi: thank you, i look forward to working with you. chairman alexander: senator murray? sen. murray: mr. chairman, it's your committee. chairman alexander: thank you
for the courtesy. i will go later. thank you. sen. murray: ms. devos, i am troubled about some of the things you said about public education and how you see the role of the department you have been nominated to lead. my first question for you is yes or no. the missionve that of the department of education should be to strengthen public education for all of our students yeah cap -- students? ms. devos: yes, i do. sen. murray: can you commit that you will not work to privatize public schools are cut a single penny for public education? thanks forsenator, that question. i look forward to working with you to talk about how to address the needs of all parents and students, and we acknowledged today that not all schools are working for the students that are assigned to them. i am hopeful we can work groundr to find common in ways we can solve those issues and empower parents to
make choices on behalf of their children that are right for them. sen. murray: i take that is not being willing to commit to not privatize public schools. ms. devos: i guess i would not characterize it in that way. sen. murray: well, ok. and the you about conflict of interest. president-elect trump says he can manage his conference of interests by having his family managed interests when he is in office. do you think it is ok for presidents to manage -- ms. devos: no, i do not. we know from press reports that you and your family have invested in the education industry, including investments in a student loan refinancing and a chain of corporate online for profit charter schools. you said you would sever ties with your family businesses if confirmed, but you also set to
return to these businesses owned by your family when you leave public service. how is that different from president-elect trump's arrangement? senator, first of all, let me be very clear about any conflicts. where conflicts are identified, they will be resolved. i will not be conflicted, period. i commit that to y'all. with respect to the ones you were, one of the ones we aware of only entered the process and is in the process of being divested, where if there are any others that are identified, they will be appropriately divested as well. sen. murray: from your answer, i assume that your and your family intend to forego all investments in education companies from now on? ms. devos: anything deemed to be a conflict will not be part of our investing. how do you intend to convince this committee that no entity will feel pressured to purchase, partner, or contract with corporate or nonprofit
entities you and your family invested in, should you be confirmed as secretary? ms. devos: i can commit to you that nobody will feel any pressure like that. sen. murray: as you know, this committee has not received your required paperwork on the office of government ethics, and they have told me they cannot provide me assurance right now that your conflicts of interest have been identified and resolved by the office. again, will you be providing this committee with three years of tax returns? haveevos: senator, i provided the committee with everything that has been requested and required of the committee, and i am frankly very proud of the team that has been working on my behalf to get all this together, and i know that to oge is working very hard work through my and others'' confirmation processes as well, as is the department. i am helpful we will get this resolved. senator, do you not
have your ethics paperwork tonight? we do not have a chance to know if you have -- if we have additional questions. would you commit to coming back to this committee once we have that from the oge? makingos: i commit to sure we have an ethics agreement resolved and reached. hope 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 influenced the political system to elect candidates who support your ideological agenda. if you are confirmed, i want to know if you believe it is appropriate for you and your thisy to continue to use to pressure state, local, and federal candidates to support your agenda? ms. devos: if i am confirmed, i will not be involved in political contributions, and my husband will not be either. sen. murray: ok, thank you very
much. chairman alexander: thank you, senator murray. has deferred to sen. isakson:. sen. isakson: thank you, ms. devos. congratulations on her nomination. -- ask like to answer you three questions in regard to the statement. this committee has established a task force on government regulation and identified 59 bourbons in real -- bourbons and regulations that -- burdens and regulations that affect higher education. of the 59, 12 can be invalidated and changed immediately. king,5, senators bennett, booker, alexander, and myself introduced a bill to simplify the bourbons in the application -- the bird in any applicant -- the burdens in the application process.
in my stateutions have said this is a priority for them to move forward and simplify the process in getting our kids the best education they can give. my question is, would you commit to working with our office to advance the recommendations on higher education? ms. devos: thanks for that question. i am aware of this task force report. like the direction it has taken is very promising. if confirmed, i look forward to working with you to implement the things that are deemed appropriate to be done. sen. isakson: would you commit to us to work with us on the items identified by the task force that the secretary currently has the authority to change? meaning this won't be another government report that goes on the shelf. ms. devos: you have my commitment on that. sen. isakson: lastly, will you work with this committee to ?upply fafsa indeed i will.
i know that has been a very burdensome process and application. i recall chairman alexander unfolding the entire length of it. it is a very long process. i look forward to working with you. questions, mr.04 chairman, if i remember correctly. the committee came up with a two-page application that works just as well. it is a way to improve going to college. ms. devos: let me say i don't think we should make it any more difficult than absolutely necessary for students to further their education. sen. isakson: right answer. is mr. boyd here? you referred to the partner's house. ms. devos: yes, he is. stand up.on: you have done a great job with potters house. i appreciate what you have done very much. >> thank you.
sen. isakson: that brings me to this point. senator murray was talking about privatizing schools and talking about the importance of the lack of importance of charter schools and the importance of protecting public education. she talked about her goal and my goal, which we have shared, and that is to work towards foriring prekindergarten every student in the country, because we believe it is important. we did it in georgia. how we did it in georgia was taking faith-based reeducation faith-based prekindergarten programs and private institutions to provide us with the classrooms and teachers to teach the curriculum. today in georgia, 16,000 four-year-old kids go to prekindergarten paid for by the state, delivered by a variety of private and public institutions. my point is, if you are going to meet the challenges of public education today and have to the bit on the resources available, you will never get to where you
want to go, but if you get the private sector making an investment in public education and have standards everyone commits to, you can greatly expand the opportunity of education, greatly expand the accessibility of education, and do it through faith-based and privatization -- private institutions. do you agree with that? ms. devos: i think it is an interesting approach that torture has taken, and it is similar to what florida has done. it,he essa act is implement states should take a look at other successful programs. i would also look forward to working with the other agencies that are involved with some of hhs andchool funding of see if there are ways to more effectively use those moneys to help students be ready for kindergarten when they reach kindergarten. my time is up.
i appreciate your recognition of the nontraditional student of 25 years ago has become the traditional student of today. not every kid lives in a two we have toehold, come up with the programs necessary to train our kids to do the jobs of the 21st century in different ways all the time. congratulations on your nomination. i yield back. chairman alexander: thank you. sen. sanders: c sen. sanders: -- senator sanders? sen. sanders: thank you, mr. chairman. ms. devos, there is a growing fear in this country that we are moving toward what someone call an oligarchic form of society, where a small number of very ourthy billionaires control economic and political life. would you be so kind as to tell us how much your family has contributed to the republican party over the years?
senator, first of all, thank you for that question. i was pleased to meet you in your office last week. i wish you i could give you that number. i don't know. sen. sanders: i have heard the number was $200 million. does that sound in the ballpark? ms. devos: collectively over my entire family, that is possible. my question is, and i don't mean to be rude, but think that ifou your family had not made hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to the republican party, that you would be sitting here today? sen. sanders: senator, -- ms. devos: senator, i do think there would be that possibility. i have been working hard to be a voice for students and to empower parents to make decisions on behalf of their children, primarily low income children. sen. sanders: thank you. in your statement, you're prepared statement, you say,
"students should make informed choices about what kind of education they want to pursue post high school and have access to high-quality options." us believe 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. would you work with me and others to make public colleges and universities tuition free through federal and state efforts? senator, i think that's a really interesting idea, and it is really great to consider and think about, but i we also have to consider the fact that there is nothing in life that is truly free. somebody is going to pay for it. sen. sanders: well, yeah, you're right. somebody will pay for it, and that takes us to another issue. and that is, right now we have proposals in front of us to
substantially lower tax rates for billionaires in this country , while at the same time leveling can can't afford to go to college. you think that makes sense? yourevos: senator, if question is really around how we can help college and higher education be more affordable for young people as they -- sen. sanders: actually, that was not my question. my question is should we make public colleges and universities tuition free so that every family in america, regardless of income, will have the ability to have their kids get a higher education? ms. devos: senator, i think we can work together and 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 would look forward to that opportunity. sen. sanders: would you agree with me that if there is a mom watching this hearing who makes $30,000, $40,000 a year, a single mom, perhaps, who has to
or $50,000 a year for child care for her daughter, that or $50,000 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 our working families? do you have ideas on that? do you agree with that idea? reporter: that -- ms. devos: that certainly is a rden, and while i understand the challenge that young mother would face and how to best serve her child's needs, if we are talking about the future of that child in her education, i would look forward to working with you. i know we have common ground on a lot of things and we could find ways to work together to ensure that young mom's child will have a great opportunity for a great education in the future. sen. sanders: there are countries around the world which to provide universal, very
inexpensive or free childcare. me in movingk with our government in that direction? ms. devos: senator, again, i feel very strongly about the importance of young families having an opportunity for good childcare for their children. that's not a question of an opportunity, it's the question of being able -- very often my republican friends talk about opportunity. it's not a question of opportunity. it is a question of being able to avoid. how do we help somebody making a dollars or nine dollars an hour at a time that somebody -- a time that we can't raise the minimum wage because of republican opposition, how do we make sure those moms get quality child care that they can afford? ms. devos: i would look forward to helping that mom getting quality education for their child or children so they can look forward to a bright and hopeful future. sen. sanders: thank you very much. chairman alexander: thank you, senator sanders. next, senator hatch.
sen. hatch: thank you, chairman. i'm happy to have you here, ms. devos, and i appreciate the abilities you have exemplified. the care that you have for education, the hard work you have done. i have to say, very few people in this country could even come close to what you have done. i welcome you to the committee. it has been a pleasure to be here today to consider your as secretary of education. i appreciate your commitment to expanding opportunities for all children, and 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 of our schools. those closest to students know what is best for their education. the truth you have championed is
a reformer. this community's support and passage of the every student succeeds at demonstrates that these values are not unique to you and me, but instead shared by many of our colleagues who reality.education as a the selectionss for this position have worked hard to make sure the people serve the needs of these positions, not just people of stereo typical education, but those who might be bringing new things to the forefront. all i can say is we have ushered many of our colleagues through this process on both sides of the floor, and i hope my colleagues will extend the same courtesy to you. theso believe in extending
benefit of the doubt, recognizing, for example, that a person's views as a private citizen do not necessarily reflect their future actions as a holder of public office. in my private conversations with you, i trust that you will not force particular policies on states, unlike what some in education do. , in predecessors have done some cases, in violation of congressional intent. i also recognize that support of parental choice for all students is not an attack on public education. my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have attended public education as a reality, and i have to say that they have attended the schools, and i believe you share my commitment to ensuring that every child receives a quality education regardless of the type of school they attend. i have spent my entire first
service fighting to make equity in education a reality. i believe that you would be an indispensable partner in this fight. working withd to you on the priorities that are important to the people of utah, including increasing transparency, accountability, and access to higher education, --well as increasing and innovation and evidence-based reforms. unlike others here who may be interested in attacking your donations, i know that you want to do right il children, so i will stick to focusing on how we can work together on some policy. , the department of education does not have a uniform measure for describing whether borrowers are repaying their loans. confusion, thee department issues a different borrower repayment rate methodology for each policy at comes up with. might provemetric
tough on making information --ilable the conference, available to congress and the higher education community about success of former students in repaying their federal student loan debts. this information could also tell us the extent to which student loan repayment rates vary across institutions. should haveudents access to a wide variety of data when choosing a school, just like they would when choosing a car. greater access to information would lead to wise decision-making when choosing an institution. do you support increasing loanparency regarding results for students and parents to use when deciding on a post secondary school? ms. devos: senator, thank you for that question and your kind comments. i agree with you 100% at the and the student debt
amount of student debt, over $1.3 trillion right now, up almost 1000% in the last eight years, is a very serious issue, and one which we all have to, i think, pay close attention to and resolve in some way. if confirmed, i certainly would look forward to working with you on ways tolleagues get after this issue, the issue of the cost of education as well as debt repayment. kind of go hand-in-hand. i look forward to working with you and your colleagues, should i be confirmed. thank you so much. i think you will be confirmed and make a great secretary. chairman alexander: senator casey? me on the record as asking for a second round. if that's under consideration.
chairman alexander: it's not under consideration, but i would be glad to put you on. [laughter] sen. casey: i will keep trying. beingvos, thank you for here. i wanted to start with a basic question. thed you agree with me that problem, and that's an understatement in my judgment, that the problem of sexual assault on college campuses is a significant problem that we should take action on? ms. devos: senator, thank you for that question. i agree with you that sexual assault in any form or in any places in problem. a problem.lace is no disagreement there. sen. casey: the second question is, would you uphold -- let me give you background. in 2011, the department of education issued guidance on title ix by this current administration. would you uphold that 2011 title ix guidance as it relates to sexual assault on campus?
i know thatenator, there is a lot of conflicting ideas and opinions around that bydance, and if confirmed would look forward to working with you and your colleagues and opinionsd the range of , and understand the issues from the higher-end institutions that are charged with resolving these and addressing them, and i would look forward to working together to find some resolutions. withr casey bang i agree the guidance. i'm just asking for yes or no. -- sen. casey: i agree with the guidance. i'm just asking for yes or no on whether you would be willing to uphold that guidance. ms. devos: it would be premature for me to do that today. sen. casey: this problem, to say it is an epidemic is also an understatement. the centers for disease control told us back in 2009 that one in five women are the victims of sexual assault on campus, and yet a lot of those women who
were in that one in five never have an opportunity or never report incidents. it is a major problem for women. in so many ways, it is the ultimate betrayal. parents, for generations, have told her daughters, study hard in school. get good grades, because when you get good grades you might have an opportunity to go to college, and if you go to college, the world is open to , and you can succeed by having a higher education. but too often, it happens every year on many campuses around the country, too often a young woman is a victim, sometimes in the first day she is there, the sometimes over the course of her first year. her life is destroyed that. 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 they got passed into law. what we did in that bill was, for the first time, say to colleges and universities, you have to do more than what you are doing, simply on one broad topic of prevention and awareness. so young man on the campus who are the perpetrators of this have to be part of the solution. part ofe to be bystander education, a preventative strategy. in addition to all kinds of transparency and requirements, this is what the act did for women offer victims, i should say, victims of assault. colleges and universities must provide clear statements regarding the procedures followed. a must do more than they have been doing when it comes to enforcement. in particular with regard to victims, it says, but college or university -- the college or university must indicate to the
victim her right to notify law enforcement, should the victim choose to, and the institution the obligation to help the victim reported the incident to law enforcement, including helping her get a protective order, among other things. the law is now, based upon my bill. in the fall of 2015, this went into effect across the country. there is an organization called the foundation for individual rights in education. bill that would totally change that. they would force a victim to go to police departments to report, and they went change -- they would change the stander of evidence. would you commit to retaining the standard of evidence as is currently the law? ms. devos: senator, let me just say that my mom's heart has
really peaked on this issue. a in any form is never ok, and i want to be very clear on that. if confirmed, i look forward to understanding the past actions and current situation better, intent ofure that the the law is actually carried out bothway that recognizes the rights of the victims as accused.hose who are casey: i'm out of time, but the organization that has that position which is contrary to the current law and contrary to the spirit of what we are trying to do is a recipient of donations from you totally about 20,000 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. thank you,exander: senator casey. senator paul? sen. paul: congratulations, ms. devos. i grew up and went to public schools and got a great education. big fan of public schools. my kids have gone the public schools. there are also some public schools that are not doing very well. the department of education says about half are not doing well. half the kids that are dropping out our kids of color. inommend you for your work trying to help lower-income kids and trying to help everybody get a better education. i think the status quo is not really working. i have traveled to a lot of schools, though, and have been amazed at some of the schools. i went to saint anthony's in milwaukee, a latin school in philadelphia. amazing success stories. you see the success in front of
where 100 percent of the kids are going to college. amazing stories where 50%, 40%, maybe 30% of their contemporaries in the community are going. there are great successes. we need to think about the kids. kids get so caught up in, oh, i don't want religious schools, private schools. it's like, look at the kids and look at the success. i thought maybe you can take a couple of minutes and tell us about some of the things you have seen in this chicken, schools you have visited that are a success, -- scene in michigan, schools that you have visited that are a success, or things that excite you about the potential of all students, that we should not leave them behind. ms. devos: thanks for that opportunity. i would love to talk about some of the schools and some of the individuals i have seen benefit from the success of being able to choose the right educational setting. i have already mentioned the johnrs house school and
boyd, who is with us today. visit,school i regularly the students come from a multitude of different countries, speak many different languages, and most of them are from very low income circumstances. it is amazing to see the transformation that those students have been going through their potters house years. there is another student right behind me who i have 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 very troubled early childhood in her grade school years. i think she was kicked out multiple times before her godmother finally found a school that was going to work for her, and the transformation was almost overnight. she is the first family -- the
first in her family to have graduated high school. she graduated college. in may, she will get her masters in social work degree. she is a tremendous example of ant can happen when you get opportunity to go to the right school. lydia is also your. her mom took her and immigrated from peru because of the opportunity. she knew she would have a much greater opportunity to succeed and thrive. been the beneficiary of a tax credit scholarship program in arizona, and she is now in college and pursuing a higher education there. those are two big students. there are many students i see doing amazing things, actually trying innovative things for approaching education for children. one of them i would love to nention is called acto
academy. it is totally student directed. they formed their own constitution, and there is no teacher in the classroom, just a coach or a guide, and the guide cannot answer questions, they can only pose a question back to the students. this academyrom are simply amazing. the school is actually proliferating pretty rapidly throughout the country. those are just a few examples. i can give you dozens more. sen. paul: putting a face on it, meeting these kids, seeing there were going to succeed, and looking them in the eye and knowing they will succeed is an amazing thing. for those who have a philosophic hatred for vouchers and school choice, watch the movie "rating "waiting for-- superman," and watch the mother's tears when her kid got to go to a good school. we met a young woman in
nashville. she's got a full scholarship to boston college. here we are, we love to talk to the media. the media did not want to talk to us, they wanted to talk to this young lady because she is an amazing success story. i wish you the best of luck. chairman alexander: sen. franken: co sen. franken: -- senator franken? a member of: i am the party the chairman of vote. charter schools are not an issue here. the soda is thoroughly in the mainstream. there are 37 states in this that constitutionally prohibit the use of public school money for religious schools. it is the dfl party in minnesota, thank you very much, that is in the mainstream and not the witness of the chairman. senator lieberman mentioned
proficiency. it reminded me of this. when i first got in the senate in 2009, i had a roundtable of principles. princi principals in minnesota. one of them said we think of the mslb test as autopsies. they take the test in april, they get the results in late june. the tet -- the teachers cannot use the test results to inform their instruction. i saw that in minnesota, the majority of the schools were taking a computer adaptive test, a computer test where you get the results right away, and adaptive so you can measure outside the grade level. this brings me to the issue of proficiency, which the senator cited, versus growth. views on theyour
relative advantage of assessments and using them to measure proficiency or growth. ms. devos: i think if i am understanding your question correctly around proficiency, i would correlate , soo competency and mastery each student is measured according to the advancements they are making in each subject area. sen. franken: that's growth. that's not proficiency. in other words, the growth they are making is not growth. the proficiency is an arbitrary standard. ms. devos: proficiency is if they have reached a third grade level for reading, etc. sen. franken: i'm talking about the debate between proficiency in growth, what your thoughts are on that. ms. devos: i was just asking the clarify, then -- sen. franken: this is a subject that has been debated in the education community for years.
i have advocated growth as the chairman, and every member of this committee knows, because ignoreoficiency teachers the kids of the top who are not going to fall below proficiency, and they ignore the kid at the bottom who they know will never get to proficiency. i have been an advocate for growth. but it surprises me that you don't know this issue. chairman, i think this is a good reason for us to have more questions. 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 did not know of any rural about everyone getting one question and one other senator gets a question. i don't know where that rule comes from. chairman alexander: i will tell you where it comes from. it comes from the committee president and the way we treated
president obama's nominees, john king, the way we treated arne duncan, the way i was treated when i was a secretary. we will apply the same roles to them to secretary devos, mrs. thomas -- we areanken: i think selling our kids short by not being able to ask follow-up questions. i was kind of surprised -- well, i'm not that surprised that you don't know this issue. ms. devos, your family has a supportingry of anti-lgbt causes, including groups that this conversion therapy. for example, you and your family have given over 10 million dollars to focus on the family, an organization that currently states on its website that " homosexual strugglers can and do change their behavior and identity." devos, conversion therapy has been widely discredited and rejected for decades by every mainstream and medical health
organization as inappropriate. it has been shown to lead to homelessness, drug abuse, and suicide, particularly in youth. in fact, many leaders of conversion therapy, including both religious ministries and mental health professionals, have not only publicly renounced it, but have issued formal apologies for their work and how to the it has been individuals involved. mr. chairman, i would ask that this be included in the record. chairman alexander: will be. sen. franken: ms. devos, the you still believe in conversion therapy? never believedve in that. first of all, let me say i fully embracing equality, and i believe in the in a value of every -- the innate value of every single human being, and that all students, no matter their age, should be able to attend a school and feel safe and be free of discrimination. let's start there. let me just say that your characterization of
ittributions, i don't think accurately reflects those of my family. i would hope you wouldn't include other family members beyond my poor family. sen. franken: in terms of throwing numbers around, you say student debt has increased by 1000%. ms. devos: 980% in eight years. sen. franken: i'm sorry? ms. devos: 980%. sen. franken: that's just not so. it has increased 118% in the past eight years. i'm just asking, if you are challenging my figures, i would ask that you get your figures straight about education policy. that's why we want more questions, because we want to know if this person that we are , may entrust, to be the secretary of education, if depth ofhe breadth and knowledge that we would expect
from someone who has that important job. thank you. chairman alexander: thank you, senator franken. disagreements with secretary king as you apparently do with mrs. thomas. -- ms. devos. we are treating her the exact same way that we treated him. that is what i would call the golden world. sen. franken: i did not hear one member of the committee asked to ask more questions, and here, virtually every member of the minority is asking to ask more questions. that is a very substantial difference. because youxander: got a nominee of the republican party. we are not going to treat a republican nominee different than we treated democratic nominee. we have had the same situation with both of president obama's nominees.
>> i do want to put in the record that michael leavitt had two rounds. chairman alexander: michael leavitt was never the education secretary. bush hadder president two rounds. there is precedent. chairman alexander: i appreciate you saying that. i am trying to be fair by treating ms. devos in the same way retreated both of president obama's education nominees. we go next to sen. cassidy. cassidy: ms. devos, great see you again. ofm really struck, the kind reaction your nomination has elicited. let me just ask some questions. do you support public education? ms. devos: absolutely, senator. sen. cassidy: man, that's amazing. some think you do not. do you think all children
deserve to have the opportunity to receive quality education? ms. devos: absolutely, i do. supportsidy: do you children of all incomes and race to have the opportunity to choose the school that meets their child's needs? ms. devos: absolutely i do, and i commend you and your wife for the school that you started that focused on dyslexic students. sen. cassidy: my son is very bright. he graduated from an inner city public school and then graduated with honors from some fancy school northeast. my daughter, who has dyslexia, we were able to pay the tuition so she can have her needs addressed. not all parents can pay that, so it matters very much that a their, regardless of income, can get their child's needs addressed. the believe that the decisions affecting our children's education are best
left to the states and levels to -- states and locals to the side, to allow them to tailor the policies and programs that best meet the needs of their students? ms. devos: i do indeed. sen. cassidy: oh my gosh. as u.s.elieve the role secretary of education opportunity to advance your personal education views an agenda? ms. devos: not mine personally. i am hopeful to advance those of the president elect and the views of many parents nationally. as secretary of education, is it your intention to undermine our nation's public education system? ms. devos: not at all. sen. cassidy: will you carry out the of limitation of federal education law in a way that carries out the intent and letter of the law? ms. devos: indeed. sen. cassidy: do you intend to coerce any state, school district, or school on any education program credited to
the secretary and federal law, one such example being common core? ms. devos: no. sen. cassidy: do you intend to todate or direct any school mandate private school policies, including vouchers or scholarships? ms. devos: no. sen. cassidy: next, you mentioned dyslexia. i am passionate about it. 20% of us are dyslexic. 20%. i am told that one out of four children of color by age four, by fourth grade, reads --stantially low substantially below grade level. that is important, because we learn to read and read to learn. that is an issue i am passionate about. as secretary of education, will you commit to working with me and others to find common ways to promote better awareness and understanding of dyslexia, and
will you commit to working with me in this community to develop better federal education policies to ensure that dyslexic children and all students with differences have the resources they need? ms. devos: i would look forward to that opportunity. sen. cassidy: you may not agree to this or not. work withgree to developing new federal policies to ensure the early screening of , orexic and schools universal screenings in all districts and schools, to ensure that the appropriate services are provided to students? sen. young: ms. devos: i would look forward -- ms. devos: i would look forward to exploring that with you, to see if it is a federal role are best left to the states, but i would look forward to that opportunity. sen. cassidy: that is a fair answer. i will thank you for your answers and yield act. -- yield back. chairman alexander: senator bennett? sen. bennet: thank you, mr. chairman. it pains me to say this. i really wish we had a second
round of questions, too. believe you are a precedent for this. were the nominee, you were a governor, you have been the president of a university. had been a school principal, had been the commissioner of education in the state of new york. arne duncan had been the superintendent of chicago public schools. those were the experiences they brought to their committee hearing, and their records will work -- their records were well-known and well established. there is no way in the time that we have that we will go into that level of background. i would ask some level of consideration the given to having additional questions, and that the tax returns be made available to the committee. devos forthank ms. your willingness to serve and your passion for education and your family. i agree with you, and the committee members know this, that our public school system is
not working for many of our kids, particularly those living in poverty. i think it is 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 some this generation will have to pay for in the future. every child in this country should have access to a great public school. choices onarents' high-quality schools and charter schools, and i think it plays a critical role in education. but the goal for me has never been in school choice for its own end. the goal is high-quality public schools for every kid in every neighborhood to receive a great education. for a kid in a low income family, there is no difference, there may be a philosophical difference, but no practical difference between being forced to attend a terrible school and to be given a chance to attend the choice of five terrible
schools. that is no choice at all. in denver, we made a different deal. a deal that said we will create a public choice system, we will authorize charters, we will create traditional schools. but we implement strong accountability. detroits i can tell, and michigan, to a degree, has followed the opposite path. analysis,to one detroit public schools -- and by the way, it is not easy to figure this out because there is so little accountability in michigan -- detroit public theols averaged 9%, 9% of kids are proficient. charter schools were a little kids were% of the proficient. i will stipulate that charter schools are doing better, but outcome forrrible everybody involved. according to education trust for 2013, the majority of charter schools in michigan performed worse than the detroit public to africann it came
american students in eighth grade math. nearly half of charter schools in michigan ranked in the bottom quarter of all schools statewide . my question is this, not a false choice about whether we should or should not have choice. he should have choice. -- we should have choice. but what you have learned in the last 20 years in your work in michigan that has changed your mind about what it is that kids need in america in the 21st century? ms. devos: thank you for that question. forward tol, i look correcting some of the record regarding detroit. i think it is important to put detroit in context. in 1950, there were 1.8 million people living in the city of detroit. today there is less than 700,000, 675,000 roughly. anyone with any means in the city of detroit has basically left the city.
students there today -- sen. bennet: with respect, i am not asking for the history of detroit. what i would like to know is the last 20 years of school reform that you have been so involved with in michigan. ms. devos: yes, but you are referring specifically to detroit schools. the reality today is that eight out of 10 students in detroit are living in poverty. nobody accepts that the results in detroit overall are acceptable. there is clearly room for a lot more improvement. but the reality is more than half of the -- i'm sensitive: because i'm not going to get a second round of questions. what have you learned about the failures of the detroit public schools and detroit charter schools that has informed your as the secretary of education? tot went wrong that is going
go right in cities across america as a result of your philosophy on how we ought to move the country forward? ms. devos: i believe there is a lot that has gone right in detroit and michigan with regard to charter schools. , and the notion that there haven't been accountability is just wrong. it is false news. it is not correct at all. the reality is that charter schools in michigan have been accountable, fully accountable, to their overseen bodies and to the state since their history, 122 -- so. bennet: why are there many failing schools in michigan? ms. devos: 122 charter schools have been closed in michigan. the reality today is that students attending charter schools in the city of detroit are getting three months on average more learning than their counterparts in the traditional public schools. the recent legislation that was passed now actually brings all
schools in detroit under accountability, a including the traditional schools. here before there has never been a traditional school closed due due to peoort -- performance. sen. bennet: i'm out of time, and i apologize. i would like to say this, mrs. devos. i would like to invite you to denver to the denver public schools, if you are willing to come, to see what we are working on there. ms. devos: i would love to do that. >> thank you, senator bennett. senator young. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for putting yourself forward. i think you will make a fine secretary of education. i would like to bring up something we discussed in our office. we talked about teachers. you actually started talking about teachers. it was encouraging.
you said we are blessed beyond measure by educators who pour themselves into their students. i share with you -- i am a father, i have come to understand how essential it is to have prepared teachers who are empowered to do their very best work and immersed in an atmosphere that support it. in sittingobjective on this committee is to try and play a constructive role on the process, working with you. my wife, her family is full of teachers and a number of them are still teaching today in a low income town in indiana. i would like to look to the evidence. always open to the evidence from all comers. thee is a examination of
accident -- of the education systems all around the world to try to figure out what works. what makes for an effective education environment. it wasn't the amount of money spent for students. we tried that in this country. in 1970, the cost to educate a student was roughly $57, adjusting for inflation 40 years later, it is $165,000 per student. we know it is not money. what mckinsey found that was the most important factor is the quality of our teachers. i feel very strongly that we need to remove barriers to quality teaching and enable and equip these teachers to do their very best work. as someone who studied this issue extensively, i would like to get your thoughts on how we do that. ms. devos: thank you, senator. i did enjoy our meeting in your office as well, talking about these issues. let me restate again that a
quality teacher cannot be -- the importance of a quality teacher cannot be overstated. i think that the opportunities abound for empowering and re-empowering teachers in a new way, unleashing and on encumbering them with a lot of rules and regulations that really 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 has not changed significantly in a century and a half. and yet, the world has changed significantly. i think there is a great opportunity. this goes for teachers of all kinds of schools and all varieties, and that is to really empower them in a new way to do what they do best. and i know that in a couple of the states, when charter schools
were actually introduced, the teacher, those that founded the charter schools were actually teachers who were wanting to express themselves in a different way and found a new opportunity to unleash from their previous circumstances. sen. young: thanks. 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 targeted for helping the poor, the needy, the vulnerable to those who need a hand up, emphasizing whether or not those programs are working. i discovered 80 of these programs, depending on how you 80, onlym, of these 12,000 them were ridiculously -- rigorously looked at.
only one was 80, only 12,000 them were found to meaningfully work. even that was a bit complicated. we need to apply evidence-based approaches to the education system in the same sort of way and just stare the evidence and let it guide us hopefully in a bipartisan way. do i have your assurance that you will operate in this fashion? ms. devos: absolutely, senator. if confirmed, i look forward to working with you on that. sen. alexander: thank you, senator young. senator whitehouse. senator whitehouse: thank you, mr. chairman. it is reputed that sigmund freud said there are times when a cigar is just a cigar. and there are times when charter charterare just schools. that is the case in this room. certainly we have a very strong charter school community in
rhode island. but there are times when it appears that charter schools are used as a wedge to attack public education, and the signals of that tend to be that failing protectedhools are compared to failing public schools. the standards really aren't there. as i say in rhode island, we demand a lot from our charter schools. they succeed. we are proud of them. but 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 turner school is automatically better than a successful traditional public school in the view of that system. we in rhode island would not want to see that system moved into rhode island were moved to
a national level -- or moved into a national level. second signal is when the charter school advocates fail to recognize, as i believe you have actually recognized, that there are ongoing costs and responsibilities that traditional schools must continue to shoulder even as students leave with their funding for charter schools. that is so clear a proposition now that the investment service has written about it and talked about the danger of a downer and -- of a downward spiral because it actually addss costs. and the charter school has to be maintained until he can be adjusted. can you assure us that your desire for charter schools is sincere, and that as secretary of education, you will steer deny publicforts to
school funding the funding they need to manage the charter school transition, and you add that toured schools have to live up to their promise? you are not just going after public schools when they are available? ms. devos: thank you for that question. let me begin by stating that my advocacy and my orientation is really around parents and students and their choosing the right education for their children. when parents choose charter schools, they are doing so because they think it is a better spot for their children. 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 to -- for parents to make those choices. sen. young: i get that, but the question is, do you understand when the parent make that choice and the child moves to the truck
-- to the charter school and the funding leaves with the child, that leaves a funding gap at the previous school it can't instantaneously or magically fill. that is a real problem that movies -- thinkvos: indeed, and i this is a good example of an issue with his best addressed at the state level by each state and acknowledging that each state will have unique circumstances in that regard. sen. young: it will be hard to address that at the state level if you make this -- sen. whitehouse: you make this in the legacy cost of the public school system. if it is your intention to create a downward spiral, that is not solved by different state policies. that is why we need you as secretary of education to recognize there is a problem, and you will keep in mind not only the charter schools and the parents going there, but the
parents staying there. ms. devos: as we spoke in your office, this is an issue, and is probably unique to some states more than it is to others. i will refer back to the implementation of the every , and theucceeds act opportunities states have to address the unique challenges of their states. i will be a crusader for parents and students and the equality of education, not for specific arrangements of how school is delivered. sen. whitehouse: let me ask you one other quick question. for 10 years you were on the study of religion and liberty which calls climate change unfounded. donated tor husband the center that promoted fake science and even something in
pennsylvania about the adoption of a technology back with intelligent design. if school districts around the country tried to teach students junk science, will the department of education be with the students or the political entities trying to force the junk science into the science programs? ms. devos: it is pretty clear is that the expectation is science is taught in public schools. teaching of great science and especially science that allows students to exercise critical thinking and to really discover and examine in new ways. science should be supported at all levels. sen. whitehouse: i would have liked, mr. chairman, to make touiries about pell grants follow up on these answers which were directed towards the
question but not completely responsive to the question and to ask were the department will go on this problem of college for profits that have taken these kids and robbed them of their education, their money and set them loose with a piece of partner -- paper that is not worth anything. but i'm very fond of you, and of 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. sen. alexander: thank you, senator whitehouse. i will take my five-minute round to somethingck mrs. devos rodda and several senators -- brought up in several senators brought up. the law that the president called the christmas miracle that this committee produced, the fix to no child left behind. it was fast december 2015 -- passed under december 2015.
the plans are, under the law we call esa. senator franken may have been the first person to suggest that. [indiscernible] no, no.xander: i should have known better. planning, ist is on a path to save the states. every state will have to get their new title i plan and their title to plan, which is a true and its opportunity to take advantage of the innovation states have wanted and the flex abilities we have given them -- like civility -- flexibilities we have given them. get your plans in, we will improve them in the spring or summer. you can implement the plans in the school year that begins next
year. but will you, is it your intention to continue on that path, on that schedule? senator,: absolutely, and if there is any confusion or confusion -- questions around the transition, make sure it will be high-priority if confirmed for me to ensure that the plan is adhered to and that the law is implemented, as you all intended. sen. alexander: in most of our states, plans are being circulated among various groups. if you are confirmed, people will be looking for a signal of you that you can get your plan in in spring or summer, and we will try to improve it so you can get onto the next year. my second question is, as you can tell we have considerable differences of opinion here in the committee, and we resolved enough that 85 of us voted for
-- we worked out some difficult issues. we even put with 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. would you -- what is your attitude to respecting the authority that congress gives you and trying to implement the law according to the way it is written rather than trying to legislate from where you are? you think very strong way of giving low income parents more choices of schools. we debated that i don't got 45 votes for senator scott still and my bill -- senator scott's bill and my bill. would you try to get that through the department of education even though congress couldn't do it? ms. devos: it would be my goal
to implement laws as you intended them. i knowledge that it is your role to write laws and pass laws, and it would be the department's role to implement as intended. sen. alexander: so no matter how strongly you feel about school choice, for example, you wouldn't be prepared to washington -- mandate washington state court tennessee adopt -- or tennessee adoptees particular plan? ms. devos: i can see the merit, but not any kind of mandate from within the department. sen. alexander: the scholarship for kids legislation that i proposed the got 45 votes, which was not enough, and senator scott proposed a more limited version that had to do with students with disabilities state,ly said that -- i we can take $24 billion of federal dollars we now spend, money we nowf the
spend, and the state could choose to take that money and turn it into $2100 scholarships and let it fall of the students through the schools that the state chose. if the state did not approve of dollars going to private school or religious schools, didn't have to do that, or if they did that, which i think 25 do -- it could do that. in this case, it would allow the states to make the decision and the parents to make the choice, rather than washington give an order you have to do school choice. is that the kind of proposal you would support or not? yes, absolutely. we have seen a wide variety of school choice programs. 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. sen. alexander: thank you. senator baldwin. , mr.or baldwin: thank you chairman. i wanted to weigh in also that i hope we will get additional opportunity to ask questions. i would like it to be not in writing but to give the american people the chance to hear the exchange and responses. mr. chairman, i also associate myself with the concerns raised by our ranking member regarding the holding of this hearing prior to receipt of the office of government ethics plan for elimination of possible conflicts of interest. mrs. devos, you had the chance to answer questions already family's indirect
investments and for-profit finance andncluding performance, which i understand to be a collection agency that specializes in student debt collection. won't repeat those their, -- there, but let me get to the agreements that are forthcoming. what would you do to take advantage of section 1043 of the internal revenue code that allows you to defer capital sale ofxes on the assets divested in order to rules? ith ethics this provision can allow wealthy individuals to save hundreds of millions of dollars. it is why rules, when i became e of this and i joined senators
white house and warren on this committee, as well as our colleague senator feinstein, it a bill to close this loophole or at least limit the amount of capital gains that .ould be deferred to $1 million because we don't have your financial information get from the office of government ethics, my question to you is, are you planning on taking advantage of this tax loophole? ms. devos: senator, thank you for that question. let me just restate again that i look forward to the ethics agreement finalization with the government office of ethics and committed to ensuring that i have no conflict. with respect to your specific question, i will not take advantage of that. i have already made that conclusion, that decision. in fact, it would probably be
useful to note here if confirmed, i will only take a salary of one dollar so i can be official, but i don't want to take a salary either. i also listened carefully to your opening exchange withour .enator franken related to your sizable donations to a number of anti-lgbt donations that have been associated with advocacy for the discredited practice of conversion therapy, i was heartened by your response, i will say. but i will 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 alarm that parents have expressed to me about these donations to anti-lgbt organizations, i guess i want to , i mean, i assume there are lgbt students and their parents watching tonight. what would you say to them to assure that you are going to use your position as secretary to support lgbt students or students with lgbt parents? ms. devos: thank you, senator. let me restate again i embrace equality, and i firmly believe in the intrinsic value of each individual, and that every student should have the a safe andf discrimination-free place to become educated. i want to restate those principles of values for me.
the things youto have referred to again and suggested that you may be confusing some other family members in some of those contributions. also, looking at contributions from 18 or 20 years ago. so i just want to again refer to what i just said about my approach. -- 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. sen. baldwin: i note that i have run out of time. mr. chairman, i have many more questions that i would like to propound. i will say, mrs. devos, if you think -- and we have been fairly general given our restricted time given the issue of
charitable conservations if you will or contributions to these anti-lgbt advocacy organizations , if you feel like there has been a family member who has beingbuted and your identified in the public record is incorrect, please in writing follow-up. -- follow up. i received no information to the contrary. sen. alexander: thank you, senator baldwin. senator roberts. senator roberts: thank you for holding the hearing. i think the ranking member as well. mrs. devos, thank you for being responsive, articulate, informed, and in my view, specific. chairman, all members could submit any specific questions they have for the record, and when did we have a time period on that, we will
always speak on the senate floor. thank you for coming by my office. we had a nice visit. that iou know way back had the opportunity to teach also while trying to put out a kansaser in phoenix, not but phoenix. but at any rate, i know you probably understand the one-size-fits-all education system just as not work. you said that in your testimony. and i told you that i hold a roundtable discussion in kansas and washburn university. there were 12 college presidents , all of them except a few, and 12 business stakeholders, very important to those universities, to discuss higher education and workforce development going to the fact that we will attempt to pass a higher education bill.
in particular i heard from the leaders about the impact of federal programs, policies and more especially regulation. on-campus institutions of higher education. during our meeting in our office, i shared with you and information chart. i need a bigger chart. like the guy who said he needed a bigger boat with the shark coming after him. maybe that is not a proper category, but any rate, these of 34 topics or areas federal regulation. some of them are very important, but the collective judgment was that they were so intrusive, so expensive, so time-consuming was that they had to get an office of the compliance just to look at federal regulations. in the assigned affairs to go till the various departments that make up the johnson county
community college. which, by the way, has the highest enrollment of any university or college in kansas, more than the jayhawks were the sharks. these 34 areas of federal impactful, supposedly to the school, basically indicate that we need to work together to eliminate many of --se burdensome legacy legislations that hamper higher education institutions. as you know, and i think everybody, i would have agreement on the other side of regulationswell, are one of the key areas this committee will focus on as we focus on the higher education act. will you be a partner in addressing many of these time-consuming regulations? ms. devos: senator, thanks for the question, and thanks for
meeting in your office. i appreciate seeing the chart again. i am a visual learner, so i appreciate that in particular. if confirmed, i will look forward to working with you and and the act and the regulations you have referred to. i will help them do what they do best. for kansass: education, along with my fellow senator, it is tough when you try to go directly to the person who is in charge of that department, namely you. and i tried that before sitting down across from president obama and complaining about regulations under his executive order to make sure every department ascribed to a
cost-benefit yardstick, if you will. that did not happen. the person in charge was supposed to be back, and his right arm, dennis, dennis was in charge of war and peace and other things. i recommend that maybe i ought to do it regionally. obviously we have had people from rural areas, urban areas -- it will be terribly important we get someone that can actually see the problem report back to you or somebody else in your department. you can't do all this, i don't know anybody that can. at least when we have a real problem with the 12 universities or for that matter five or six or even one, saying here is a regulation that doesn't make sense, can we at least address it? maybe we can tweak it and get rid of it or do better. i hope you can work out some kind of swat team, if you will,
with regards to overregulation. that was the number one issue that i heard. thank you. ms. devos: thank you, senator. i think that sounds a great idea. sen. alexander: thank you, senator roberts. senator murphy. senator murphy: if senator alexander decided to allow us more than a meager five minutes, mr. voss, do you have anywhere to be tonight? would you be able to stick around and answer those questions? ms. devos: i will defer to the chairman. sen. murphy: i assume you don't have other obligations. i think this is a real shame, this rush job, inability to allow the public to see this debate. imperative to get this hearing in before all of the information. it really violates the best traditions of this midi, and that is trying to protect the nominee from scrutiny. i hope we would reconsider. let me rush through these questions. your family has been investors
in a family called k12, a for-profit operator. 80% of its money comes from federal or state taxpayers and has made over $1 million in a year, made millions in profit. i can go through a long litany of examples in which people have made their fortune off of public education dollars, charter school principal in orlando got $519,000 payout when his school or her school was closed for poor performance. my question to you, do 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? ms. devos: thank you for that question. let me just say that when it comes to education, i think what is important is what the outcomes are, what the achievements are.
i don't think the delivery mechanism is the issue as much as it is our students receiving students receiving the benefit of? sen. murphy: have you met many principles in detroit that say they have enough, they don't need any more? ms. devos: i can't answer that question. i have not asked them specifically. sen. murphy: if we can't agree folks should get rid off of schools -- should not get rich off of schools, maybe not terrible schools. 20 regulations were a big part of the underlying new federal education law. there were final regulations that import rated comments of basically everyone in the education -- incorporated comments of basically everyone in the education field to make sure they were meeting real standards. the accountability relations are supported by the school superintendents association,
civil rights groups, teachers unions. can you assure the committee you will lament accountability -- implement accountability regulations to make sure all schools are performing and not throw this into chaos for states and districts around the country ? will you implement those? ms. devos: let me 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 but is now holding all schools, including traditional public schools accountable for poor performance. i will continue to support accountability. i will support the implementation of every student succeeds act as congress has intended it. sen. murphy: let me ask you again. will you support the implementation of 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 performance standards ? i am asking you a specific question about this existing relation. -- regulation. be tradition would with the changing administration, i will look forward to reviewing that and again, i will restate my orientation to pro-accountability and pro-responsibility to parents and taxpayers. sen. murphy: that will raise a lot of questions for people trying to implement that regulation. do you think guns have any place in or around schools? ms. devos: that is best left to locales and states to decide. if the underlying question is -- sen. murphy: you can't say definitively today that guns shouldn't be in schools?
ms. devos: i will refer back to senator enzi and the school he was talking about in wyoming. i think probably there, i would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies. sen. murphy: if president trump moves forward with his plan to ban gun free school zones, will you support that? ms. devos: i will support with the president-elect does. if the question is around gun violence and the results of my heartase know that bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence. sen. murphy: i look forward to working with you, but i also look forward to you coming to connecticut to talk about the role of guns in schools. sen. alexander: thank you, senator murphy.
the quality of life the child will experience, responsibility the government will bear because of that for education. what we can make sure for this access of quality education in every zip code should be of paramount importance to this nation, committee, and the entire senate. i would love to hear your thoughts into the perkins cte programs. ms. devos: senator, i thank you for the question and for the and your observations that experience behind it. i couldn't agree more that we have continued to do a soturbance -- disservice to many young people in our country by continuing to force them to attend schools that are not working for them or for many. the thought that many that 1.4 million students dropped out every year, one every 42 seconds, that is a human tragedy. we think about the loss human
potential, and as you mentioned, essentially 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 whole range of those choices based on the realities of a state. that is why states need to grapple with this issue in a meaningful way. if confirmed, i hope to be able to talk with governors and legislators about opportunities and options they have to address the needs of the students. thank you very much. i think there is another part of the education field that does not get enough attention. so often we think of technical choice.as a subpar the place to go if you get get into it for your school.
it is as if -- a four-year school. not a bachelors degree. i hope you take a look at encouraging and providing great support for high-quality technical schools. i know in south carolina, the importance of technical schools cannot be over emphasized. when we think of high-tech manufacturing, it is really for us in south carolina, it creates a hub in all honesty. the sectors we benefit from, the boeing 9000 jobs in south carolina to the bmws, the bridgestone. our technical schools are the reason why we are succeeding on the high-tech manufacturing jobs . one of the things i have noted is that we probably need to have a robust conversation about making sure there is flexibility
in coursework at the technical almost, because there is 6 million openings in this country. 75 do not require a college degree. align what is happening in the marketplace with the training and technical schools, we might solve a major part of our unemployment. ms. devos: absolutely, senator. students, as they anticipate higher education, really need to have a full menu of options shared with them. they need to understand where the opportunities are, what the costs are for the various additives that might take, and certainly technical schools, community colleges, apprenticeships, there is really a wide for i.t. of alternative pathways -- variety of alternative pathways if students are made aware of them. sen. scott: i know i am out of time, mr. german.
just to finish, you may be familiar with the five-point plans. you put $50,000 into the account . i think the five-point plans to be a wonderful apparatus to be paid for or subsidize some of k-12.st even i would love for us to have a longer rotation on that. ms. devos: i look forward to it. thank you. sen. scott: thank you, mr. chairman. sen. alexander: thank you, senator scott. senator warren. senator warren: we don't have a second round. i asked my staff to pull the records from the hearing we had. you said when you called on me, i think we have time for a second round. senator warren, you can be the first in the second round. i heard that, i was the only one who stayed and had questions. sen. alexander: that is why we had time. sen. warren: i understood the
people that had questions could ask them. well we are doing precedents, i understand was the president that president obama needs -- that president obama's nominees had forms so we can ask them questions about them in public. i am a little confused them in public. i am a little confused about what precedent means here. mr. voss, many of my -- mrs. devos, many of my democratic colleagues have pointed out your lack of experience in public schools, but i would like to ask about your qualifications for leading the nation in higher education. a hundredking sure $50 billion gets into the right hands -- $150 billion gets into the right hands. the secretary of education is responsible for managing $1 trillion of student loans and distributing $30 million in pell
grants to students each year. the financial futures of 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? ms. devos: senator, i do not. sen. warren: have you ever managed or understanding trillion dollar loan program? ms. devos: i do not. sen. warren: how about a billion dollar loan program? ms. devos: i do not. sen. warren: ok, so no experience. how about participating in one? for you to understand what it is like for students and families who are struggling to pay for college -- have you ever taken out a student loan from the federal government? ms. devos: i have not. sen. warren: have your children had to borrow money? ms. devos: they have been fortunate not to. sen. warren: have you had experience with pell grant? ms. devos: not personal experience, but certainly
friends and students with whom i have worked. sen. warren: do you have personal experience with college rental aid or management of higher education? let's start with the basics. do you support protecting federal taxpayer dollars from fraud and abuse? ms. devos: absolutely. sen. warren: so do i. now we all know resident trump's experience with higher education was to create a fake university which resulted in him paying $125 million to students that he cheated. i am curious about how the trump administration would protect against waste frost entities -- fraud entities at similar profile -- for-profit colleges. how do you plan to protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse from colleges and taking millions of dollars of student aid? ms. devos: senator, if confirmed i will certainly be very vigilant. sen. warren: how?
how will you do it. you said you are committed. ms. devos: the individuals with whom i worked will ensure that federal moneys are used properly and appropriately. i will look forward -- sen. warren: you are going to subcontract making sure that what happens with universities that cheat students doesn't happen anymore? ms. devos: no i didn't -- sen. warren: you will give that to someone else to do? i want to know what your ideas are? ms. devos: i want to make sure we don't have problems with that as well. if confirmed, i will work diligently to confirm we are addressing any of those issues. sen. warren: what suggestion do you make? it turns out many roles that are already written, all you have to do is enforce them. what i want to know is, what you commit to enforcing these rules to ensure that no career college receives federal funds unless
they can prove they are accidentally -- actually preparing students for gainful employment and not cheating them. ms. devos: i will commit to ensuring that institutions which received federal funds are actually serving their students well. sen. warren: so you will enforce the gainful employment rule to make sure that these career colleges are not cheating students? ms. devos: we will certainly review that rule. sen. warren: you will not commit to enforce it? ms. devos: and see that it is actually achieving what the intentions are. sen. warren: 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, and i am not sure how you cannot be -- 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. you cannot commit to use the tools that are already available to you in the department of education, but i don't see how you could be the secretary of education. and i look forward to having a second round of questions. sen. alexander: thank you, senator warren. senator colin. senator:: thank you, mr. chairman. i cannot help but think it gives my friends on the other side of the aisle have used their time to ask questions rather than complaining about the lack of a second round, the each would have been able to get in a second question. i used 15 seconds of my time to make that point. say i have no doubt that you care deeply about the education of all children. and i 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 suggestion such as was made earlier that your nomination is linked to your political contribution 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' 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 the federal role, or is that a state role? ms. devos: thank you for that question. i really enjoyed the conversation we had in your office. levy respond to your question about federal versus state and local rule by saying, i absolutely support the fact it is a state rule and state decision what kind of offering there might be with regards to choices and education. as we discussed in our office, maine has a unique situation with students attending school on islands and in rural areas. it suggests that the right answer for maine is not the right answer for indiana or any state. i would not support a federal mandate or federal role in dictating those. sen. collins: i am glad to hear that.
i have heard repeatedly from s, whethericial teachers or superintendents, that the same action the federal government could take would be to fulfill the promise of the 1975 individuals with disabilities to education act, to fund 40% of the additional cost of educating special needs child. needs child. it has been many years since that law was passed. we have never come close to the 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 towards fulfillment of that promise? that is an action that would help every single school
district in this country. ms. devos: senator, absolutely i would commit to that if confirmed. i actually think this is an area that could be considered for an approach that would be somewhat different, and that maybe the money should follow individual students instead of going to the states. i think that is something that we could discuss. i look forward to talking about that with the members of this committee. sen. collins: another of my concerns, having worked at a college level for a. period of time is the low rate of college completion. there is nothing worse than a student being saddled with educational debt and not earning the credential or the degree that would enable the student to pay off that debt. i am a strong supporter of the
federal trio program which helps prepare students for higher education. aspirations,aise particularly of children who come from families without experience in the higher education. do you have any thoughts on how we can do a better job in supporting college success programs so that we can ensure students are able to complete their degrees or earn their credentials? ms. devos: senator, thank you. i do think we can do a better job with preparing students, informing them before they enter college. i know the trio program helps to mentor and a pair -- prepare students that might not otherwise have an opportunity. that is a very important and valid one to look at, or perhaps , is there another and more effective way to advance that or
replicate that? or use that in a new way to help increase the participation of students that may not otherwise pursue higher education and complete it? sen. collins: thank you. sen. alexander: thank you, senator collins. senator assad. >> thank you, mr. chair and ranking member murray. i looking forward -- i look forward to working on this committee and appreciate the opportunity to participate. mrs. devos, it is nice to see you again. thank you for being here today, your family as well. and i think all of us here sarah a commitment share to public education and making sure the standards to democracy. i would echo my colleagues' call for another round of questioning, because i think our
job here is not to talk about ideas but actually to drill down how this actually works in practice. and so, i want to talk about one of those situations you begin to talk on -- touch on in my office when we met. it has a little bit of what senator collins was talking about an terms of full commitment to students with disabilities and what senator withdy was talking about qualifications for children with dyslexia. my son, ben, experiences cerebral palsy. he cannot speak or uses fingers, but he is smart and the best kid on earth, if i do say so myself. he got a quality public education at our local school. he is a graduate of exeter high school in it are, new hampshire. -- ian exeter, new hampshire. he worked so hard to make sure he had the right to that
education. concerned that with 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 find over their legal rights over the individuals with disabilities act. do you think family should have a recourse in the courts if their child's education does not adequately eat -- meet his or her needs, whether they get a voucher or more public and traditional? ms. devos: thank you for the question. i appreciate our meeting earlier last week. let me begin by saying i and dancing for that you had the opportunity with
your son ben, to find the right opportunity for him. i would advocate for all parents should be able to have that opportunity to choose the right school -- sen. hassan: i had the opportunity to send him to the same public school that my daughter went to because law required that that school provide him resources that were never invited before that law was passed because it was hard. so the question is, will you enforce the law with regard to kids with disabilities if the voucher program did allow them to go someplace else? and the school said, no, it is too expensive, we don't want to do it. ms. devos: there are great programs already in place like in ohio. sam and his mom are here today, beneficiary of the john peterson special needs scholarship program. sen. hassan: i understand that. but excuse me for interrupting. what i am asking you is, there
is at least one voucher program 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 cannot use the voucher system that the department under your leadership might start. so i want to know whether you will enforce and whether you will make sure that children with disabilities do not have to sign away their legal rights in order to get a voucher should the photo program be developed. -- of the voucher program be developed. ms. devos: i talk about this program were 31,000 are taking advantage, and 93% of the parents using lysing the voucher -- utilizing the voucher are pleased with it. as opposed to 30% -- sen. hassan: that is not the question i asked. for right now, i will move on to
one final question i really do wish we had a second round. there is a lot here that is withcal to our students disabilities. ,ith all due respect, mr. voss has not answered my question, but because we have not a second round, i am trying to follow up on a question you asked -- my son -- there is a foundation named for your parents, correct? ms. devos: my mother's foundation. sen. hassan: and you sit on the board? ms. devos: i do not. sen. hassan: so when it made the $5 million donation to focus on the family, you did not know anything about it. ms. devos: my mother makes the foundation decisions. sen. hassan: thank you. sen. alexander: thank you, senator hassan. senator byrd. senator byrd: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. voss -- mrs. 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. i think most of us say that whos rare to find somebody is the full monty. i mean, you don't have to do this. that is apparent. you did not have to choose your life's ambition, but you did. thank you forou -- the investment you have been made for all the kids who have been impacted. for the unbelievable statistic you know about florida, or whatever. i'm sure you andy senator from minnesota can come to agreement on what the numbers were about what he was talking about. firstmber, in my
election, i went in to get the support of educators. i was 10 minutes into what to 45 minutea 30 question and answer. i asked a question, are there for kids with outcomes? i can ask also the questions about you personally, and what you have done, but you came into my office. question, you a convinced me that you are passionate about ensuring that every child had the opportunity to have a successful education. from that, every child that got that education would have an opportunity to reach the american dream of a life that is unlimited, opportunity that is unlimited.
without askinge a question. i only have one question today. us to it so difficult for figure out how to focus on outcome versus getting so hung up on process? mrs. devos: senator, i think that is a very good question. i think we could have a very robust debate in this room about that. i think that human tendency is guard what is because change is difficult. see the fact that there are millions of students who are simply not getting the opportunity for an equal opportunity for quality education. and, we try to tinker around from the top, and we try to fix , but it becomes more
about the system, i'm afraid, then it does about what is right for each child. i thank you for your support, and your encouragement around the notion that every child should have the opportunity. every parent should have the opportunity, on behalf of the child, to choose the right educational environment for them. i'm hopeful that, if we can continue having a robust weversation about this, will talk about the great schools that our children have the opportunity to go to 10 years from now, which may not exist today, or look very different from what i exists today. i think the opportunity to innovate and education is really unlimited, and untested to a
large extent. i hope we have that opportunity. senator burr: i think we will, and i hope the committees is it in the actions to see to it that you are the helm of the department of education. as i look across america, and across the world, icna twitter technology will impact things in a way that we did not dream about five years ago. at 90l remember my father years old looking at me -- just saying,ive years ago -- i do not understand how a fax machine works. belief in limit my the purpose is served. education will have to change drastically, but what is most important is having someone who is passionate at top.
for that, i'm thankful that you are here. senator alexander: thank you. senator king. how muching: information do you have about the finances of the president-elect. mrs. devos: i do not have any of that information, senator. senator king: so, you will not -- how the actions will affect his personal finance situation. mrs. devos: i'm not sure how to comment on that. you wouldng: i think need to know how that affects the president's personal finances. mrs. devos: i think the president has taken steps -- can you restate the question? senator king: i think it is wise
to know how the proposal will affect the president's personal finances. you disagree with me? mrs. devos: i do not disagree with you. senator king: the nation deserves a secretary who is a champion of public education. education,peech on you were blunt, "government really sucks." you called the public school ystem a "debt and." -- dead end." you have never attended a public school? mrs. devos: correct. teachers and others do better with their more out is high. would you agree with me? mrs. devos: absolutely, and i support great teachers. senator king: the attitude of the leader matters a lot for a workforce, would you agree on that? mrs. devos: absolutely.
do not have any questions about it, and i have a limited amount of time. you and your husband spoke at a conference a number of years ago. your husband said this was not attributed to you, but you were together at the conference. "the church has been displaced as the public school as the center of what goes on in the community." thomas jefferson did not view public education as contrary to the church, do you? mrs. devos: i do not. think -- ng: do you mrs. devos: all schools that receive funding should be accountable. senator king: the same standards? mrs. devos: yes. but you have different standards between traditional public schools and charter schools. senator king: i'm very
interested in this. public charter or private schools, k-12, they should meet the same accountability standards. mrs. devos: yes. parents should have the information, first and foremost. senator king: would you agree on accountability from schools that remit -- receive federal funding. mrs. devos: i support accountability. senator king: is that a yes or no? mrs. devos: that is a "i support accountability." senator king: i think all schools that receive taxpayer funding should be equally as fun accountable. mrs. devos: they do not. senator king: should all schools be required to meet the requirements of schools with
disabilities act. mrs. devos: i think they already are. senator king: i'm asking you a should question. should all schools that receive taxpayer funding be required to meet the requirements of the individuals with disabilities and education. mrs. devos: i think that is a matter better left to the states. senator king: some states might be good, other state might not be so good, and then people can move around the country? mrs. devos: i think that is an issue best left to the states. senator king: what about the federal requirement? federalmit it to funding. should they be required to follow federal law? mrs. devos: as the senator ford -- senator referred to -- there are many parents who are happy with the program there. senator king: let me say this, i think all schools that receive federal funding, public charter,
or public, should be required to follow the individuals with disabilities and education act. you cannot agree with me. should all schools be required to report the same information in instances of harassment and bullying. mrs. devos: i think that federal funding comes with strings attached. senator king: i think all schools that receive federal funding should report on issues of harassment and bullying, and you agree with me on that? it's not a court, you're not under oath, not under subpoena, but you are trying to win my vote. senator alexander: senator krukowski. krokowski: thank
you, senator for coming to my office. i had the pleasure of showing you the map of alaska. 72% of communities in alaska are not attached by road. they are islanded in every sense of the road. i had the opportunity, on saturday, to meet with about 400 educators in the state. i will cut you, they are concerned about your nomination. theyare concerned because love to have the choice we are talking about, but when you are , and there is no way to get to an alternative option for your child, the best parent is left relying on a
public school system. and i think sure, every teacher that i met with on saturday once to make sure that your commitment to public education, particularly for rural students, who have no choices is as strong and robust as the passion you have dedicated to advancing charter schools. i appreciated your answers to -- i appreciated what you said in response to the chairs questions about whether you would work toward a voucher type of system, if we in the congress said that is not the direction. e tried to ensure to th
teachers i was talking to that they are not significant vote to voucherize the system. i appreciate the inquiry from senator king on the level of accountability. this was something brought up in anchorage.sion in a concerned that there would not be an effort to match that accountability to the schools that receive federal funding, either through a voucher program, but, in addition to program standards, there would be true accountability with adhering to federal laws for civil rights as well as students with disabilities. for a continuation of discussion. you have provided some very
responsive, that i think will help the teachers in alaska, where the options are very limited. to can you provide assurance these teachers, families, and students, for whom alternatives and options are severely limited. not because we don't want them, but because our geography isolates us. mrs. devos: thank you for that question. i really appreciated our conversation and a review of the map because it reminds us of the unique challenges that alaska has. i would say that i can assure you that, if confirmed, i will and its approach .o educating youngsters i have to say, i think the creativity and innovation that alaska has employed through the
traditional public system is one that other states can probably take note of and learned some lessons from. we hope that they continue to feel the freedom and drive to continue to educate and innovate. senator alexander: we are proud -- senator krukowski: we are proud of the innovation we have made. we have a great deal of urban anchorage hosts six of the most ethnically diverse schools in alaska. then, we have rural schools where i may have no more than 60 kids in a school. in order for them to have the opportunities,nd the dollars that flow, and the commitment that flows, there is a level of accountability
throughout. it remains a significant challenge. i need to have a firm commitment give to focus you will not only alaska, but states that have significant global ruralations -- populations, that the public system is not undermined, eroded, or ignored. mrs. devos: absolutely, senator, you have my commitment. i think there is so much that alaska can share with others in terms of how to address challenges of very widespread populations. senator alexander: i will now turn to senator murray. i had to start by saying, and i hope this does not count against my time for
questions. i have questions that i know all of our community want to follow up. let me say, i am really disappointed that you have preemptively cut off our members from asking questions. it really is unprecedented. you and i have worked together, and i appreciate that, but i hope you change your mind. i don't know what you are hoping protectos -- hoping to mrs. devos from. to be very clear, this is not what we have done in this committee. from president bush's second health and human services, five members participated. obama's secretary of labor, three members
, over three hours. clinton'sent 10retary of labor, questions. i hope we are not just cherry picking senator duncan and senator king, who had a broad history behind them, behind this. i would like to enter into the record showing the president of this history. given the lack of hey there work lack of numerous -- paperwork, i would like to call for a second hearing of this committee. senator alexander: would you respond to that
now? do you have additional questions? senator krukowski: i do have additional questions. saytor alexander: let me this. what you are asking me to do is to treat mrs. devos differently than we treated president obama's to education secretaries, and i will not do that. 8:15. already at that is three hours and five ofnutes of hearing -- questions. secretary duncan, the hearing was two hours and five minutes. john king, the hearing was two hours and 10 minutes. this is already three hours, and we are not finished yet. eachr as questions go, member of this committee has had an opportunity to visit with , anddevos in their office
i believe she has done that. several members of this committee have already sent her written questions, which she will answer before we vote on her nomination. thehas complied with all of rules of the committee. the committee rules do not require that the office of inernment ethics report be by the time of the hearing. she submitted her information -- i believe12th the 12th -- on the fourth of january. mrs. devos, i understand you are working and will continue to work with the office of ethics. is that correct? mrs. devos: that is correct. senator alexander: the purpose of that, for those watching, there is a designated office that works with the nominees, and comes to an agreement with
them if there is any conflict of interest. if she, for example, needs to divest herself of something, that will be part of the agreement. she has said that she will do whatever she needs to do to gain an agreement with the g office of government ethics so that the agreement says 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, either as extensively as obama'sfor president nominees. you have the opportunity to submit additional written questions after this hearing for up to two days. say two days, by the
close of thursday. then, you will have three or four days after the office of government ethics letter of agreement says that she has no .onflicts of interest is public that seems to me to be entirely reasonable. i have already agreed to move the hearing one week, at the request of the democratic and republican leadership, so they could consider other nominations. on the tax return issue, it is not a requirement of this committee that nominees return eir taxide us with th return. they provide us with it their financial information. it is not a lot to provide their tax return. i'm treating her the same way that we treated president obama's education secretaries.
i will not have a second round. i would be happy to extend to you, if you would like, the questions.sk then, i will do the same, which is consistent with what we did for the two previous obama secretaries. senator murray: with all due respect, this is the only nominee to not submit an lge paperwork before this hearing. our members have not had the opportunity to review it. i appreciate private hearings, i'm sure all of us do, but our hear -- let want to me just say, tillerson had three ,ounds, sessions, two rounds carson, two rounds. it's unclear why education is not just as important. senator alexander: if it is
important under trump, it is important under obama. i do not know why suddenly we have this sudden interest. mentionedople have secretary paige. he did not have his office of government ethics letter in before the hearing. the same was true for elaine chao. i have tried to be as fair as i can, and follow the golden rule. we have got over three hours for an extensive hearing, which is just part of a discussion as you evaluate how you will vote. >> we are just asking for five
minutes per member. as senator murray said, we did have time in our office, i think half an hour, but our constituents were not there. asking for more questions i do not think is unreasonable. senator alexander: senator, i have a norma's respect for you, but the obama and ministration was also a change in administration, and i did not hear a great cry for questions. this is a three-hour hearing, three hours and 10 minutes now, in addition to all the information that is there. i do not think it is fair to 'seat a republican president education nominee any different from the democratic nominee. i think you are one of the fairest people in town. that.ve earned
you really are. to me, the fact that republican members of the senate did not want to ask a second round of questions for the obama nominee to the senate, the fact that that should be a president for the democrats, eight of whom are here tonight -- even follow-up questions that we have heard tonight, i think is really unfair and uncharacteristic. we can't have the questions here, we will have another submitting in writing is the answer before we can go forward -- i do not think that is a satisfactory result. if we cannot ask the questions today, i hope you and the majority leader will consider that. senator alexander: i have already said that members will have an opportunity to ask
questions in writing, which they already have. many have already done that. you can ask additional questions in writing. you can have that in by 5:00 on thursday, and next her day. i have said we will schedule an executive session on next tuesday, where wil we will be glad to discuss the tax return issue. we will vote on mrs. devos, but only if the letter agreement from the office of government ethics is complete by this friday, and made available to all members of the committee so you have three or four days to see how that will affect your vote. are be sureken: that before this school on tuesday we will have the answers to these russians? -- questions?
here, at least the nominee has to answer them. are you assuring us that before the vote on tuesday, our questions will have been answered? senator alexander: the number of questions needs to be reasonable, and the answers need to be reasonable. that is in the eye of the holder , sometime. the most number of questions that was ever asked before this committee was 191 to secretary perez. i will not say there is a certain number that is reasonable. i'm confident that mrs. devos all make an effort to give reasonable answer. what would your answer be? will you do your best to answer the questions you receive after
5:00 on tuesday before the possibility of a vote next tuesday. mrs. devos: i would certainly endeavor to have an answer to every question. senator alexander: sen. baldwin: senatorldwin: -- baldwin. baldwin: i have heard various members indicate that there have been additional rounds for witnesses, or nominees, that have come before this committee in other departments other than education. i can tell you, perhaps half -- i perhaps got to propound half of my questions today. of that, given the
department, i have many more. senator alexander: is talking cedent tonight, let me see what the is. i told dr. price that, in my experience, one round of questions would do it. of course, senator murray and i followed up. let me think about that. senator warren? senator warren: can i ask about cedent? can we find instances where people asked for a second round of questions and were refused? senator alexander: i do not know the answer to that. if you go back to president wasa's secretaries, there one round of five-minute
questions. warren: as you said in the hearing, we have time for another round. those were your words. you said, "senator warren, you can be the first in the second round." had there been anyone else that wanted to ask a question, they could have. satisfied they were and has no more questions. senator alexander: many of us were not satisfied with the last nominee, but we thought it would be appropriate to defer to the president, and have a secretary in place. you are a very exceptional law professor, and i don't want to get into that kind of our discussion with you. is you asked if there
could be a second round, and i , yes. i think we are the only ones still in the room. we have to bring this to a conclusion. mrs. devos, we will not have a second round of questions tonight. : i want to be clear, this is the first time aat anyone has asked for second round of questions and then refuse? senator alexander: no one said that, only you. lewis carroll would be proud of that -- senator warren: i'm sorry, you said that you refused a second round? senator alexander: no, i said that lewis carroll would be proud of that. we determined we would do the same thing for president electronic -- president-elect
nominee. she has visited every one of your offices. no one may time to see her in december, so she came in january , i believe that is correct. she has received questions from you which she will answer. she has completed the fbi background. we will consider the tax return question at an executive session next week, but whether we change nominees,for future you can decide to do that. we senators do not do that and do not decide to do that. you can have two days to submit written questions. she will do her best to give reasonable answers to them. we will not go forward with a
vote next tuesday, unless her letter agreement is public by friday, and available for you to review it. that is my decision. i think that is what we will do tonight. bywill conclude the hearing inviting senator murray, if she has any additional questions, to do that, and then i will do some. senator murray: i think that as the definitive answer? senator alexander: as definitive as i can. senator murray: since i only have one question, i will ask one that you will not like. caughtnt-elect trump was bragging about kissing and grouping women without consent. he said, "when you start, you can do what you want." i was very outraged with those comments.
that outraged group after a series of women came forward to ofuse president-elect trump the kind of behavior that he bragged about on tape. happened in the school, would you consider it sexual assault? mrs. devos: yes. in fivemurray: one women will experience sexual sold while in college. we are joined tonight by several sexual assault survivors, brave enough to come tonight, because this issue is so important to them. mrs. devos: 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. please know, i am very sensitive. senator murray: you will not take back the words that you will "reign in the office of civil rights." mrs. devos: i do not think those were -- senator murray: they have been attributed to you. i hope you will take back the words of "rating in the office of civil rights." >> just two quick things. i want to clarify the issue on whether or not you are on the board of your mother's foundation. i have 990 through 2013 where you are listed as vice president
and a board member. was that a mistake on your part? mrs. devos: that was a clerical error. i have never made decisions on my mother's behalf. >> the listing that you were vice president was incorrect? mrs. devos: that is correct. i want to gon: back to the individuals with disabilities in education blog. that is a federal law. mrs. devos: federal law must be followed where federal dollars are in play. were you unaware that it is a federal law? mrs. devos: i may have confused it. senator hassan: guarantees to students with disabilities to guarantee they are given a high-quality education with their peers -- one reason it is
difficult to have this hearing and fully understand your perspective -- we do know that children with disabilities have gone with a voucher to their school because of their disability, they have to leave the school, the school keeps the money, and they go back to lessc schools, which have resources for them. or, the kids who parents cannot afford to make up the difference between the doctor and the cost of education. i would urge you to become familiar with the individuals with disabilities in education act. i'm concerned that you seem so unfamiliar with it, and use them to support vouchers rules that have not honored, that have made their rights a way
that this law enforcers. that is very troubling to me. mrs. devos: if confirmed, i will sensitive to the special needs students. aboutr hassan: it is not sensitivity. it is ensuring that every child high-qualitys to a education. the reality is the vouchers that you support to not always come out that way. that is why it is something we need to continue to explore. senator alexander: thank you to senator hassan and senator murray. thank you to mrs. devos for being here. you have set a record in terms of the last three education ies.etar i will 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-gay. according to the president, he said, mrs. devos has a history supportingwith and gay individuals. when her senior adviser was his sexualr making preference public, mrs. devos harassment.o the hea mrs. devos should be commended for proving that differences of opinion relating to marriage toality to not equate
anti-gay. the log cabin republican urge her swift nomination. senators would like to ask additional questions to our nominee. at the and the the day on thursday. for all other matters, the record is open for 10 days here at the next hearing of our committee will be tomorrow morning at 10:00 for the nomination of tom price to health and human services. senator warren: i also have a letter from the massachusetts charter public schools system, raising questions of accountability. they are strong supporters of charter schools, but very concerned with mrs. devos' record with charter schools. senator alexander: thank you. this meeting will stand
adjourned. [gavel] senator alexander: let me on nadjourn the u hearing. that is my understanding you can call three minority members to call questions, and that may be a way through this. senator alexander: that request was made earlier, and i denied that. we have not done that in our experience. our tradition is to invite the nominee, as the nominee questions, which we have done. they go through the process, which i have described at length . i appreciate your request, but
>> betsy devos of michigan, education activist, charges will and school choice advocate, political donor, wrapping up three hours before the health, education committee on capitol hill. they are deciding the fate of her being secretary of education . we are opening up the lines to hear your thoughts. (202) 748-8920 is the number to call for democrats.