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NEA president to Senate: reject Betsy DeVos and take a stand for students

Eskelsen García: The level of public engagement in opposition to Betsy DeVos’ agenda has been astounding

WASHINGTON - January 31, 2017 -

The U.S. Senate is set to begin debate on Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s controversial pick to head the U.S. Department of Education. This comes on the heels of unprecedented public outcry over her nomination. In addition to protests and demonstrations across the nation, educators, parents, students and public education advocates have emailed more than 1 million letters to the U.S. Senate urging senators to vote no on Betsy DeVos to become secretary of education. They also have made nearly 50,000 telephone calls.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“The level of engagement from parents, students, and educators—from both political parties—across the country in opposition to Betsy DeVos’ nomination and agenda has been nothing short of astounding. This is a clear signal that a dangerously unqualified nominee has failed to convince the American people that she is capable of doing the job for which Donald Trump nominated her.

“We thank the many senators who already have committed to vote no on Betsy DeVos. We also appreciate the thoughtful comments and continued questions raised in committee today by key senators who have announced they have not decided how they will vote on the Senate floor. This is good news. It means that they’re listening. We urge them and others to continue to listen to the voices of educators and parents back home before that vote.

Now, as the nomination moves to the Senate floor, every senator has a unique opportunity to put students before all else. The moment of truth is now. Will senators stand with our students and the public education system that educates nine out of every 10 students or will they ignore the growing chorus of bipartisan voices urging them to vote no on the controversial pick?

“Senators: we are watching. America is watching to see if you do what is right—reject the DeVos nomination—on behalf of students and public education.”

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The National Education Association ( is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez