A Message for Dan Sullivan Regarding Betsy DeVos

Despite massive feedback from Alaskans speaking in opposition to Betsy DeVos's nomination as Secretary of Education, (see my recent message), Senator Murkowski voted yes on moving Betsy DeVos's out of the HELP committee to a floor vote for the whole Senate.

Now apparently Senator Murkowski will vote against DeVos in the floor vote. For the life of me, I cannot understand why she would not reject DeVos in committee if she was going to vote against her on the floor. If Murkowski believes DeVos is unqualified, she should have blocked her in committee and saved our country's education system the risk.

Nevertheless, with Senator Collins from Maine saying she will vote no as well, it seems the most likely result of the vote on DeVos is a 50-50 tie, in which case Vice President Mike Pence would vote to confirm her and we will have an atrocious, anti-public school Secretary of Education. The only way we can stop this now is to get one more Republican Senator on the side of public schools.

With that hope in mind, I just sent the following message to my junior senator, Dan Sullivan. (It is mostly the same as my previous message to Senator Murkowksi.) Alaskans, please visit his website to email him or call his offices.

I would strongly encourage all educators, parents, and anyone else who supports public education to contact your senators and encourage them to reject Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

My name is Peter Stanton, and I am a teacher in Ketchikan.

I am writing to address an issue that is of deep concern to me as a teacher and so many other educators and families across Alaska and across the country. That is the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

Betsy DeVos has neither the experience nor the values to be an effective Secretary of Education. She has zero experience working in public education, and her track record is not one of supporting public schools at all. In fact, she clearly supports undermining and dismantling public schools in favor of promoting private schools and for-profit charter schools. The record of causes she has supported in Michigan shows that, indisputably.

Confirming a woman to oversee our nation's public schools who is clearly opposed to public education is downright Orwellian. We cannot hire a fox to watch the henhouse.

Senator Murkowski has been highly supportive of Alaska's public schools, and Alaska teachers know that. She put a lot of hard work into crafting ESSA so that the federal government will do better by Alaska schools and students, and we appreciate that immensely. That's why NEA-Alaska endorsed her this past year, and why she has such strong support from teachers. Senator Murkowski announced today that she will vote against confirming Betsy DeVos, and there is no reason Senator Sullivan should not join her in voting no for the same reasons.

I strongly urge Senator Sullivan to join Senator Murkowski in rejecting Betsy DeVos's nomination and demand a candidate for Secretary of Education who will support public schools in Alaska and across the country. I believe Senator Sullivan can also cultivate support from Alaska educators, and standing up for public schools on this vote will be one of the most important actions he can take toward that end.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

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