Democrats for DeVos voice support for Secretary of Education nominee

Today, Democratic leaders from across the country, some representing some of the nation’s most troubled schools, have come together to announce their support for Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. In their statements, these leaders cited her support for public education and record as a fearless champion who refuses to be intimidated by the education establishment in order to ensure our nation’s education system is reformed to serve the needs of students, not adults.

The following are statements from Democrats for DeVos coalition members:

Kevin P. Chavous, board member of the American Federation for Children:

“I have worked with Betsy DeVos for years and she will work tirelessly to help every child in our country access a quality education. Throughout her career, she has championed much needed reform to our nation’s education system so it can give low-income and minority families the same opportunities for success that families with means already have. As Secretary of Education, Betsy will put parents and children first, which is who the system should truly serve.”

Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools:

“I believe Betsy DeVos has the talent, commitment and leadership capacity to revitalize our public schools and deliver the promise of opportunity that excellent education provides, and I support her nomination as U.S. Secretary of Education.”

Anthony Williams, former Mayor of Washington, D.C.:

“Betsy makes the education establishment nervous because she shakes up the status quo. She’ll always fight for what’s best for the kids. Betsy DeVos is a compassionate leader. She has a big heart, and she’s a proven reformer who will challenge an education establishment that has forgotten too many children.”

State Senator Curt Thompson, Georgia:

“Leadership is often proven and tested when one stands up and challenges the status quo. In education, that means rethinking and reforming how our most vulnerable children and communities access a quality education. For far too long, it has been convenient and politically-expedient to do so for those in power. With Betsy DeVos at the helm, those long held beliefs and actions would be turned upside down. She wants what’s best for children as opposed to what pleases the status quo.”

Ann Duplessis, former Louisiana State Senator:

“I have seen first-hand the positive impact of the education reforms Betsy DeVos has promoted for nearly 30 years. This is an unprecedented opportunity in our nation’s history to make good on decades of unfulfilled promises to our children. Betsy DeVos’ commitment to school choice options has helped transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, including those in my home state of Louisiana. When I was elected to the state Senate in 2004, New Orleans faced an education disaster. Most public schools were unsafe and underperforming, and the local school board focused on contracts instead of kids. Today, families in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana have real educational options.”

State Representative John DeBerry, Tennessee:

“DeVos’ history of fighting for children against these special interest groups can inspire the kind of confidence needed for our nation’s education leaders to leave politics behind and put students first. Throughout her 30 years in education, Mrs. DeVos has championed providing a world-class education to every child, no matter their ZIP code or socioeconomic status. She brings a forward-thinking, results-oriented mindset to education and would be a valued partner to state and local school districts as they innovate better and new ways to serve every child.”

Tom Watkins, former Michigan State Superintendent of Schools:

“Betsy DeVos and I have had significant disagreements over the years on education policy. While we may differ on approach, I have never doubted her sincerity and commitment to doing right by our children. I have witnessed both she and her husband quietly and anonymously invest in communities, families and children in Detroit and Grand Rapids. Elections have consequences and President Trump has nominated Mrs. DeVos as his Education Secretary. I wish her well – to do otherwise is to wish ill on our children.”

State Representative Valencia Stovall, Georgia:

“My support for Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education is based upon her commitment to children over politics and partisanship. In order to ensure every child has a chance at succeeding, there should be an unorthodox perspective nationally, which is what I believe she will bring to the table. She has unequivocally proven over the last two decades that children, especially those from low-income communities, have a special place in her heart, work and mission.”

Shanelle Jackson, former State Representative, Detroit:

“In the legislature, I fought the education establishment, stood up to the special interests and put the needs of Detroit students first. As a Democrat, Betsy DeVos and I disagree on a number of issues but we agree on the importance of improving our education system and expanding options to low-income families.”

Jabar Shumate, former Oklahoma State Senator:

“As a Democrat and former Oklahoma Legislator, I have found few individuals who match Betsy DeVos’ commitment to seeing all children have access to quality educational options.  During my time in both the Oklahoma House and Senate, I partnered with Republicans including Betsy who believed that access to good schools shouldn’t be defined by one’s ZIP code.  Working alongside Betsy, I saw her commitment to empowering low-income families by expanding their access to quality traditional public schools, public charter schools and private schools. I support Betsy because she has demonstrated an ability to work with both Democrats and Republicans to find bipartisan solutions to challenges in our common education system.”

Doug Ross, former Michigan State Senator and former Assistant Secretary of Labor:

“Betsy DeVos clearly cares about children and their education – all children. And most interestingly to me, she has a real passion to make sure we deal with the issues facing poor children, regardless of race. That’s not an ideological commitment on her part, that’s really a moral passion. She feels a moral commitment to make sure low-income children have equal opportunity. Her commitment is real and genuine.”

Jason Childress, Public Affairs Director at Foley & Lardner, Former Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee:

“In an increasingly diversifying education landscape, Betsy DeVos understands the important role that all schools—whether they are district-run schools, magnet schools, charter schools, private schools or others—have in educating our nation’s children. This perspective will help her increase quality across the board for all students to prepare them for success in college and career. I support her swift confirmation.”