U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a student borrower champion and federal student loan refinancing (as an alternative to private student loan refinancing) advocate, is not holding back in her criticism of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s choice to be the next education secretary.
In a letter sent to DeVos last week, Warren said the nominee’s advocacy for school choice, charter schools and school voucher programs should be a concern for supporters of public education. Warren also criticized what she said was DeVos’ “paper-thin record on higher education and student debt,” pointing out that the next education secretary must continue to help those struggling with student debt and protect them from for-profit colleges offering worthless degrees.
“You have no record or stated position on these higher education issues,” Warren wrote. “In fact the very policies you have spent decades advocating for in elementary and secondary education—more free taxpayer money for private and for-profit education operators with virtually no strings attached—are the exact policies that have caused so many problems and harmed so many students in higher education.”
Warren, who is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee which will hold a hearing on the nomination this week, also voiced concerns over DeVos’ “deep record of activism, bankrolling and lobbying for policies that would privatize public education.”
“Your history of support for policies that would drain valuable taxpayer resources from our public schools and funnel those funds to unaccountable private and for-profit education operators may well disqualify you from such a central role in public education,” Warren wrote.
But while the Massachusetts Democrat has her concerns about DeVos, Trump has praised his choice as “a brilliant and passionate education advocate.”
“Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families,” he said after nominating DeVos in November.
In September, Trump pledged to funnel $20 billion in existing federal dollars into scholarships for low-income students, an idea that would require congressional approval. At any rate, only time will tell how the Secretary of Education selection will pan out.
image copyright Lorianne DiSabato