Aiken School Board members react to DeVos appointment as education secretary

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The U.S. Senate confirmed DeVos on Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the historic tie-breaking vote.

Despite two Republicans pulling their support for DeVos, others with financial ties to DeVos were unwilling to vote against her.

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland past year hammered out what's been called the "most conservative platform" in history. We try to have resource officers at our schools who are there to help prevent anything from happening.

Given the overwhelming support President Trump received in rural areas in the 2016 election, it's puzzling why he would choose an Education secretary who might seriously undercut public schools that are of vital importance in rural areas. This doesn't set well with many Democrats who openly support abortion, same-sex marriage and are against so-called "discrimination" by those who oppose such immoral activity. "It's always helpful to have friends in high places", he says, "and I think that it's safe to say that kids and parents and people who care about choice and quality are going to have a good friend in Washington".

"She has never worked in a public school system". Now she feels she has to come out.

"We believe in public education because it is the great equalizer", said Malinda Beauchamp, public relations coordinator for Union County Public Schools. But the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2002 case of Zelman v. Simmons-Harris ruled it didn't violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Her kids did not attend public schools. Critics say the ban is unconstitutional and amounts to religious discrimination. That's why we leave that to Public Safety to protect us and take care of us. "If we can't figure out a way to make our schools safe without putting them in that position, then there are much bigger issues".

"The irony is inescapable; teachers have to demonstrate they are qualified in order to stand in front of a classroom, and now we have the leader of education in the USA with no qualifications", said Carl Korn, spokesman for the New York State United Teachers, referring to DeVos' lack of direct experience in public education.

While some see a glimmer of hope in DeVos' comments that controversial issues - like education standards, assessments and teacher evaluations, expanding charter programs and giving parents vouchers to send kids to private schools - will be left up to the states, they are still girding for fights. Only 10 percent of high school seniors there score as "college ready" when tested on their reading skills, and a 2015 federal review of the worst-performing public schools in MI found the ratio of charters to be "unreasonably high". Also, 80 percent of these charter schools are for-profit, and with a lack of regulation, the state has no ability to close or even improve those that are underperforming (because there are no rules requiring their performance to meet a standard or outlining punishments if such standards aren't met).

An an estimated 1.8 billion in 2012 children were homeschooled in 2012, up from 850,000 three years earlier, according to an Education Department survey published last June. The GOP points out that more money doesn't equal better performance. "School boards are best able to develop innovative solutions and make informed decisions to meet student learning objectives because of their knowledge of their schools and resources in their community". "We will find new ways in which we can positively transform education".

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