Concerns raised following DeVos confirmation

By CBS, WSAW Staff 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) -- Betsy DeVos is now the United States Secretary of Education. Democrats held the senate floor for more than 24 hours hoping to convince their republican colleagues that she was unqualified for the job, and not to vote her into the position.

When the counting was done, the vote was tied 50 to 50 and it fell upon the Vice President to fulfill his constitutional duty and break the tie. A Senate historian said it's a first for a cabinet nomination.

"The Senate being equally divided, the Vice President votes in the affirmative and the nomination is confirmed," said Vice President Mike Pence.

"Millions and millions of calls, almost unprecedented on a Cabinet nomination, have poured into this Capitol," said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York.

Senators say their offices have been inundated with emails and phone calls from parents concerned about her nomination.

Many are opposed to DeVos because she has no personal or professional experience in public education. While her supporters say the education system needs an outsider.

DeVos has spent three decades using her personal wealth to advocate for public school alternatives.

Following her confirmation, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson issued a statement saying, "I appreciate Ms. DeVos' commitment to providing families with options for their children's education and I was pleased to support her today.”

Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin posted on Twitter, "Betsy DeVos is not qualified to be our next Secretary of Education.”

Representative Katrina Shankland is also concerned, "Besty DeVos is in line with that same pro-private school, taking money away from public school movement and I think, you now, to watch what's happening on the national level, more and more of our public school dollars meant for our public school kids being funneled to private schools concerns me," Shankland said.

Meanwhile, State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers has hope for DeVos in her new role, saying “You hear what she stands for but I don't think we're hearing the whole story because she hasn't had much vetting yet. So, I believe when we move forward, we'll be in a position to probably influence her in her thinking around public education."

Evers said his one big concern would be DeVos’ stance on voucher schools and how that would affect schools here in the badger state.