Dear Senator Burr,
Late on January 18, 2017, after the disastrous hearing of Betsy DeVos in front of the HELP committee in which she clearly showed she was not just unqualified to be Secretary of Education, but rather uniquely oblivious to policies that help guide our public schools, you issued the following statement:
“I’m glad that we had a lively discussion with Betsy DeVos about her vision for the Department of Education,” said Senator Burr. “Her commitment to improving education and expanding opportunity for our students is unmatched. Betsy DeVos is the person we need for this job and I am proud to support her nomination.”
Either all of the campaign money that you received from Mrs. DeVos clouded your senses or dulled your ability to perceive reality, but that was not a “lively discussion” that occurred – it was a conversation with a recording and a cardboard smile.
That was not “vision” Mrs. DeVos was displaying. That was her lack of vision.
That “commitment to improving education” already has left billowing clouds of smoke in Michigan because her concept of “expanding opportunity” is through capitalistic ventures such as vouchers, charter schools and other for-profit endeavors.
And of course her “commitment” to these endeavors is unmatched, especially when you look at the bottom line of a finance sheet, part of which has your name attached to it through political contributions.
You say that you are “proud to support” her nomination because she is the person “we need for this job.”
Then senator, please align that statement with the other statements that you have made concerning public education and tell your constituents here in North Carolina how Betsy DeVos will help fulfill your “vision” as outlined on your personal website (that may have been developed with funds received from Betsy DeVos).
“Our children are the future of North Carolina, and they represent the best of us. I am proud to be an avid defender of North Carolina students in the Senate.”
“As a part of my commitment to defending North Carolina students, I was proud to offer an amendment to fix a long-standing inequality in education funding that has shortchanged North Carolina’s teachers, schools and low-income students for over 15 years.”
“We have made great strides this Congress to deliver control of K-12 education back to local communities, while making sure limited federal education funding is going to the communities that need it the most. But making sure that our children are getting the best education possible is going to be an ongoing fight for North Carolina families in Washington. I’m pledging to continue fighting for North Carolina’s schools, teachers and students, because a brighter future for North Carolina students means a brighter future for North Carolina.”
Unless all of those students are in private, parochial, charter, or online virtual schools, then those statements concerning defending schools and students meant less to you than the political clout represented by the donations of Betsy DeVos.
You are a son of an elementary school teacher and a graduate of R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, one of the most historic traditional public schools in North Carolina.
And you just happily endorsed a woman who clearly has no IDEA.
North Carolinians deserve a better explanation from you and apparently we deserve much better representation for all of our students because your words clearly do not guide your actions.