RELEASE: In Letter to Senate HELP Committee, 38 Groups Express Concerns with Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos

Washington, D.C. — Thirty-eight groups representing a broad spectrum of education stakeholders have sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, or HELP, Committee expressing “strong concerns” with President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as the next U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos.

“Over the course of her career as a major campaign contributor, soft-money donor, and lobbyist, DeVos has used her considerable wealth to influence legislation and the outcomes of elections to advance policies that have undermined public education and proved harmful to many of our most vulnerable students,” the groups wrote. “While what we know about DeVos’ record thus far is deeply troubling, there remain many critical issues affecting students and schools on which no record exists. As such, we urge all members of the U.S. Senate HELP Committee to make their concerns about her nomination and possible confirmation for U.S. secretary of education known.”

The groups signing the letter include AASA, The School Superintendents Association; American Association of University Women; American Atheists; American Dance Therapy Association; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Teachers; American Humanist Association; Americans for Democratic Action; Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Center for American Progress; Center for Inquiry; Center for Law and Social Policy; Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues; Council of Administrators of Special Education; Democrats for Education Reform; Demos; Easterseals; Educators 4 Excellence; Educators Rising; Every Voice; Family Equality Council; Feminist Majority Foundation; GLSEN; Kappa Delta Pi; Learning Disabilities Association of America; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Transgender Equality; National Council of Jewish Women; National Disability Rights Network; National Education Association; National PTA; National Rural Education Association; School Social Work Association of America; Stand for Children; Teach Plus; and TESOL International Association.

The full text of the letter is below. For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at or 202.478.6331.

The Honorable Lamar Alexander, Chairman
The Honorable Patty Murray, Ranking Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C., 20510

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, and members of the U.S. Senate HELP Committee:

While some of us have sent individual letters on this nomination, the undersigned education organizations—representing a range of perspectives and key stakeholders, including teachers, principals, parents, and civil rights advocates—write to express our strong concerns regarding the nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. secretary of education.

Over the course of her career as a major campaign contributor, soft-money donor, and lobbyist, DeVos has used her considerable wealth to influence legislation and the outcomes of elections to advance policies that have undermined public education and proved harmful to many of our most vulnerable students.

While what we know about DeVos’ record thus far is deeply troubling, there remain many critical issues affecting students and schools on which no record exists. As such, we urge all members of the U.S. Senate HELP Committee to make their concerns about her nomination and possible confirmation for U.S. secretary of education known.

Sincerely,

AASA, The School Superintendents Association
American Association of University Women
American Atheists
American Dance Therapy Association
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Federation of Teachers
American Humanist Association
Americans for Democratic Action
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Center for American Progress
Center for Inquiry
Center for Law and Social Policy
Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
Council of Administrators of Special Education
Democrats for Education Reform
Demos
Easterseals
Educators 4 Excellence
Educators Rising
Every Voice
Family Equality Council
Feminist Majority Foundation
GLSEN
Kappa Delta Pi
Learning Disabilities Association of America
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Jewish Women
National Disability Rights Network
National Education Association
National PTA
National Rural Education Association
School Social Work Association of America
Stand for Children
Teach Plus
TESOL International Association