Betsy DeVos Hearing Video: Watch education secretary pick fumble question on education

Betsy DeVos Hearing Video: Watch education secretary pick fumble question on education
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of education nominee, had a rocky hearing Tuesday evening. According to the Washington Post, Republicans defended DeVos as "a bold reformer who would disrupt the status quo in U.S. education." However, she apparently did not know the answer to basic questions from Senate Democrats.  

Here are some of the toughest moments DeVos faced during her hearing:

Bernie Sanders 

The independent senator for Vermont did not refrain himself from asking the following question: "Do you think that if you were not a multibillionaire, if your family had not made hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to the Republican party, that you would be sitting here today?" Sen. Sanders put DeVos against the ropes when he asked questions about free college education and tax cuts on wealthy Americans. 

Al Franken 

Sen. Franken (D-Minn.) asked DeVos if test scores should measure a student's proficiency, to which DeVos could not answer clearly. He went on to say: "This is a subject that has been debated in the education community for years. ... But it surprises me that you don't know this issue." 

Elizabeth Warren 

Perhaps Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) and DeVos had the sharpest exchange in the entire hearing. When asked if she would enforce rules that require career colleges to offer gainful skills to students, DeVos said that she would "review" the rule.

"I don't understand about 'reviewing' it. We talked about this in my office," Sen. Warren added.  "There are already rules in place to stop waste, fraud and abuse and I don't understand how you cannot be sure about enforcing them. ... If you can't commit to use the tools that are already available to you in the Department of Education, then I don't see how you can be the secretary."

Tim Kaine


Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) asked DeVos if schools that receive federal funding must meet the same accountability standards, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, and report the same information on instances of bullying, discipline and harassment. DeVos seemed to avoid the question by saying "I support accountability." Then, Sen. Kaine asked, "Do you not want to answer my question?"   

Chris Murphy

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a vocal proponent of gun control, asked DeVos if she thought firearms had any place in or around schools. She answered, "I think that's best left to locales and states to decide."

When Sen. Murphy pressed her to "definitively" say if guns should not be allowed in schools, she referred to an earlier comment by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) who said a fence was built to protect an elementary school from wildlife in Wapiti, Wyoming. "I think probably there, I would imagine that there's probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies," DeVos said.

Watch the full hearing below: 


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Robert Valencia

Robert is a news staff writer based in New York. His writing has appeared in the World Politics Review, Fusion, and the Miami Herald. He's a frequent guest in English- and Spanish-speaking media, including CNN, Univision, Al Jazeera, Public Radio International, and Voice of America. You can reach him at rvalencia@mic.com

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