Elizabeth Warren grills Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, saying she’s unprepared to protect American tax-payers against the waste, fraud and abuse of higher ed swindlers like Trump

There’s a lot to discuss about DeVos’s performance during yesterday’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. There’s one part in particular, however, that I’d like to share. It’s an exchange between the billionaire anti-public education activist and Senator Elizabeth Warren on the subject of how, as Trump’s Secretary of Education, DeVos protect against waste, fraud and abuse. [Warren deftly ties in the fact that our President-elect, up until recently, operated a fake university that swindled Americans out of millions.] Here’s what Warren had to say about the exchange on Facebook last night, followed by video of the exchange.


Also of note, in case you missed it, was the part of the hearing when Senator Bernie Sanders asked DeVos if she would you be sitting in front of their committee, being considered for this incredibly impertinent Cabinet position, had her family not donated millions to Republicans.

As I’ve said before, there are a lot of truly terrible nominees that are being considered right now, but this one is on us. DeVos is someone who we know, and it’s incumbent on us to make sure the rest of the nation knows the devastation she wrought in Michigan, and what she’s likely to do to public education across the United States if given the opportunity. So, if you haven’t already, please read my last post about DeVos, share it with everyone you know, and ask them to call their Senators, especially if they happen to sit on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and ask them to vote against DeVos, a far right religious zealot with a long track record of pushing initiatives that weaken public education and deliver poor outcomes for children.

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  1. Kit
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    In a different universe, Warren would be going into the White House in a few days.

  2. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    In a different universe we are all dead.

  3. Kim
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    She also said that we should allow guns in schools because they might be necessary to fend off grizzly bears. #truth

  4. Lynne
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I have written both of our senators about this but I am pretty sure neither will be voting to confirm her.

  5. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink


    All they need is a simple majority and the Vice President breaks all ties.

  6. Lynne
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Yes. I realize that. I also know that the children of all of the rich liberals I know are going to be fine. I worry about the children of poorer people though and contacted my senators to let them know that I support them when they vote against her just in case they are getting pressure to confirm her.

  7. Lynne
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I do sometimes wish I believed in Jesus and God though because then I could comfort myself knowing that people like Trump and DeVos will have to pay in the afterlife and pay big. Matthew 19:24

    Oh well, I guess that is the price of atheism. You have to accept that good things happen to bad people and there is no justice but that which we provide for ourselves in more earthly terms. All I have for her is my disdain and criticism and as an individual that isn’t much. I hope to build that into a political defeat but accept that it might not happen.

  8. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    The children of the wealthy conservatives already have choices too. DeVos’ efforts are for the children whose parents are lower SES.

    I am thankful that none of us have to pay in the afterlife. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and yet Jesus paid the price. Everybody has the opportunity to be forgiven and redeemed.

  9. Julie
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I just couldn’t stand looking at that cat who ate the canary look that DeVos had on her face almost the entire time. She knows the fix is in and the dems are powerless to stop her. The only time she dropped it is when Franken was going at her. Thank you, Al. And Elizabeth. TIm Kaine surprised me, he really went at her pretty good.

  10. Lynne
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    The children of the wealthy conservatives already have choices too. DeVos’ efforts are for the children whose parents are lower SES.

    It is true that the children of wealthy conservatives will have choices as well. I don’t think DeVos’s efforts have anything to do with the children whose parents are in lower socio-economic income classes though. I think it is more about the super rich hoarding more public resources and the whole thing where they pretend to care about any groups but themselves is just how they pull the wool over the eyes of the more stupid among us. I would go so far as to say that on some level, they want to dismantle public education because they know that uneducated people are easier to fool and easier to steal from.

  11. M
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Not only did she buy the nomination, but she expects a return on the investment.

    “My family is the biggest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Committee,” she wrote in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. “I have decided to stop taking offense,” she wrote, “at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment.”

    That’s real quote. You can look it up.

  12. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Do you think there are any super rich who would forsake their investment strategies and business enterprises in order to open charter schools if vouchers get approved? Exactly how would the super rich profit from vouchers?

  13. Lynne
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Richer people are much more likely to use vouchers because they already send their children to private schools. So money that is currently going to the public school will then be redirected to the private schools at the expense of the children in public school. Also, private schools tend not to be located in poorer areas so it is unlikely that too many poorer students will be able to take advantage of this system. You will have a situation where poorer kids will suffer so rich people can get a break on the tuition they are already paying. Admittedly, it is nothing nearly as egregious as Snyder & co taking welfare money away from poor people and then giving it to rich people in the form of merit scholarships but still.

    Now, if she really cared about poor students, she would be proposing a voucher system that does NOT apply to any households above the median and one which included state sponsored bussing to the private schools and schools of choice. I could get behind a system that results in desegregation. In fact, that is about the ONLY value I see to a private school voucher system. It makes it so rich white families can’t just move their kids out of public schools if too many black kids are there, thus undermining efforts at desegregation. Unfortunately, things like our current system of school of choice and charter schools have resulted in more segregation and not less.

    Ultimately, richer people will benefit because an uneducated electorate is more likely to fall for their ideology. There are actually a lot of people who still think that trickle down economics works and that giving tax cuts to rich people helps the economy. Ultimately, that is how the rich folks will benefit. It has already happened. The election in Michigan was so close that there are tons of individual factors that could have made a difference and while I still think sexism is the biggest one, an erosion of education in the past decade or so in Michigan surely couldn’t have helped.

  14. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    You made some good points in that post. I could agree with not giving vouchers to those whose incomes are above some level. Maybe not median, but certainly upper middle class. I could get behind a system that results in greater desegregation. Private schools are not currently located in poorer neighborhoods, but maybe that would change under a voucher system where it would be economically feasible. Better schools would reduce the number of uneducated and make them less vulnerable to fall for any ideology. I think vouchers could be used for good outcomes. There’s a lot we can agree on.

  15. Demetrius
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Of course the super-rich won’t profit from opening or operating *individual* private/charter “schools.”

    Instead, they’ll profit from owning/investing in one of the handful of nationwide chains of for-profit institutions that are bound to spring up once Secretary DeVos enacts her agenda.

    Goodbye neighborhood public schools … and hello “McSchools” – managed for profit by local franchisees, according to bland, uniform standards dictated by “EduTech Global Enterprises, Inc,” or some such.

    Make no mistake. The appointment of DeVos has nothing to do with improving education, increasing competition, values, or parental “choice.” This is ALL about $$$, and using government power to transform a dependable, steady stream of (compulsory) taxpayer dollars into private profit – all to benefit a handful of people who are already obscenely wealthy.

  16. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    But you think it is better to give a steady stream of compulsory taxpayer dollars to a neighborhood public school that has a long track record of failing to adequately educate our kids? If the neighborhood school is good, what is the incentive for a parent to choose a “McSchool?” We live in highly segregated housing and want to limit children to attending only the local public school. What kind of outcome do you expect? And if the money we now contribute to education is never enough to provide a decent education, how will someone get rich from it?

  17. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Clueless or simply acting so to cover up for the fact that you simply want to push your narrow religious agenda on the world using public money.

  18. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    “If you like your current local public school option, you’ll be able to keep it”. But unlike ObamaCare, no one would be pushed into a system that isn’t of their own choosing.

  19. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    We are. It’s called taxes.

  20. Demetrius
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Some neighborhood schools perform poorly, but most do a good to very good job.

    Unfortunately, the right wing has spent decades (and $billions) pushing the meme that “public schools = failure.” This campaign has been so successful that many people are now willing to accept scams like public taxpayer support (vouchers) for private, religious, and for-profit schools as a “solution” to the “crisis.”

    The appointment of DeVos to head the Dept. of Education is just the grand finale to a show that’s been going on for 40+ years.

  21. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    If you think most schools are doing a good job, you haven’t been paying attention to the test scores.

  22. M
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    If it’s test scores that you care about, you do realize that public schools outperform charters in Michigan, correct?

  23. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Yes, and religious affiliated schools outperform both public and charter. Homeschool produces the highest test scores.

  24. Taco Farts
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Nice pivot Eos.

    Unfortunately for you, we’re still standing around back here in the real “argument,” which you admitted you “lost” just before fleeing stage (ultra) right.

  25. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    What are you talking about Taco Farts?

  26. Lynne
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I dont have anything against homeschooling but will point out that there is a bit of self-selection going on there which probably affects test scores. Ditto the public schools in poorer neighborhoods. I don”t think you can look at the higher test scores for the home schooled and compare them to the low test scores in poor neighborhood schools and reach a conclusion unless you control for income level, race, educational attainment of the parents, etc but I have not seen anything which ever does that.

    EOS, I would be willing to work with the right on a voucher system but because what I would be willing to accept would not allow for the chains of McSchools Demetrius mentioned, I don’t imagine that such a compromise would be accepted.

  27. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink


    “I don”t think you can look at the higher test scores for the home schooled and compare them to the low test scores in poor neighborhood schools and reach a conclusion unless you control for income level, race, educational attainment of the parents, etc but I have not seen anything which ever does that.”

    I posted a study on this blog a few years back that did just that. I don’t have time right now, but you can search the sight. And I have never heard a single conservative state that they wanted chains of McSchools either. I think there is plenty of common ground to reach agreement.

  28. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Here’s one:


  29. M
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Tim Kaine also did a great job, pressing DeVos to explain why, in her opinion, charters taking public money shouldn’t be held accountable, or made to serve disabled students.

    It’s amazing how hard the fight to keep charters from being held accountable.


  30. Eel
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Trevor Noah says every school should have a bear to protect it against guns.


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