While many Democrats have openly opposed President Donald Trump’s education secretary pick, Betsy DeVos, because she seems to know almost nothing about the job she’s been nominated for, it was likely that she’d get the job anyway due to the Republican majority in Congress. But DeVos may not be secretary of education after all—Two Republican senators have announced that they will oppose DeVos, and if one more Republican turns, the billionaire activist won’t have enough votes to be confirmed.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the two who said they would not vote for DeVos. If only they choose to oppose her, the vote for DeVos would be 50-50, and Vice President Mike Pence would have to cast a vote to break the tie. He would vote to confirm DeVos. But if any more Republicans decide to vote against the confirmation, she would be out of luck.
“I think that Mrs. DeVos has much to learn about our nation’s public schools,” Sen. Murkowski said, according to The New York Times.
DeVos has literally zero experience in public schools—she didn’t even attend one, nor did any of her children. Her big thing is school choice, or the idea that parents should be able to choose whether their kid goes to public, private or a charter school. The problem with this approach is that it leaves little incentive for regular public schools to improve.
The nominee also said a lot of weird stuff in her confirmation, like justifying guns in schools by saying teachers might need to defend against grizzly bears. And she didn’t seem to know anything about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, federal civil rights law that protects students with disabilities. She also has never used any kind of financial aid, and so doesn’t have a lot of experience with the hot topic of struggling to pay for college.
There probably won’t be a final vote on DeVos’s confirmation until Monday, according to The Hill. Even if she is still confirmed, the two Republicans who turned against her are an example of phone calls to representatives actually working—Sen. Murkowski said on the Senate floor that her office “heard from thousands, truly thousands, of Alaskans who shared their concerns” about DeVos.