School trustees blast Graham, Scott for DeVos support

As a member of the Senate's education committee, Paul was among those who voted 12-11 in support of sending DeVos' nomination to the full Senate for consideration to head the U.S. Department of Education.

Urgency around the confirmation fight took on new life Wednesday when two Senate Republicans, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said they would vote against her. Though some GOP senators like Lindsey Graham and John McCain had initially expressed concerns about secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, both ultimately voted to confirm him Wednesday.

Murkowski said she believed DeVos has much to learn about public education.

Sen. Collins specifically said that she does not think DeVos has the necessary experience to help rural schools, such as those in Maine.

In a statement, Sullivan said he shared the concerns of Murkowski, but that DeVos has "committed to me that she will work with all Alaskans to strengthen education throughout the state, in both public and private schools".

Collins called DeVos "a product of her experience".

The cabinet pick has been criticized for her support of school choice and taxpayer-funded voucher programs that would divert resources from struggling public schools.

After Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced his opposition to DeVos earlier Wednesday, it was expected that no Democrats would vote in favor of her nomination.

However, DeVos' nomination may still be in peril as two Republican senators say they will vote against her. The Senate has 52 Republicans, and DeVos needs 51 for a confirmation.

DeVos had a contentious confirmation hearing before the same committee on January 17, where she was questioned about public funding of private schools and about topics such as sexual assault, child care, and students with disabilities.

The question, of course, is whether any more defectors will emerge. "I have spoken with Mrs. DeVos numerous times and I am confident she is the right person for the job". Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said they would not vote for her.

It was the biggest public outcry over an education secretary that Kusler has seen in her career of more than 20 years, she added. But the scaremongering over DeVos' yearning for "privatization" should ring hollow after watching her testimony. They said the rest of the GOP is firmly behind DeVos. Data show that they perform only marginally better than traditional public schools.

Michigan, DeVos's home state, has the highest number of for-profit charter schools in the country, according to a November 2013 report from the National Education Policy Center.

At her confirmation hearing, she acknowledged in answering a question from Sen.

  • Kyle Peterson