Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as USA secretary of education means the end of public schools as we know them, her critics have charged.
As The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe reports, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the first secretary of state nominee in USA history to ever have to clear various procedural hurdles before a final confirmation vote.
"If Democrats fear what a Trump administration might try in education, they ought to be encouraged by Betsy DeVos, who made one thing clear in her confirmation hearing: she does not think she should be calling the shots", observes Neal McCluskey, director of Cato's Center for Educational Freedom.
In addition to DeVos, Republicans hope to confirm a series of other divisive nominees this week: Alabama Republican Sen.
Two Republicans, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Democrats in a marathon effort to derail the nomination of the wealthy Republican donor.
"As the chair of the Assembly Education Committee and as a parent of a public school student, I am concerned about Secretary DeVos's views on policies which I believe will negatively affect our public schools, teachers, parents and most importantly our wonderful students", state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Astoria) said. Arkansas now has a voucher program allowing special education students to use state education dollars as tuition at a private school, and House Bill 1222, now pending fiscal-impact study in the Legislature, would allow the same opportunity to any school-aged child in Arkansas.
DeVos was considered by many to be one of President Donald Trump's most controversial cabinet selections because of her lobbying for private school vouchers, charter schools and other public school alternatives. She did not send her kids to public school.
"Partnering with students, parents, educators, state and local leaders, Congress and all stakeholders, we will improve education options and outcomes across America", she said.
Mrs. Devos issued a statement Friday thanking school officials for welcoming her. "We welcome Betsy DeVos and anyone who wants to learn more about our schools".
As the Miami New Times reports, it's probably no coincidence that Rubio has received $98,300 from DeVos and her family members, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
The panicked rhetoric seems to stem from DeVos' long history of advocacy for charter schools and school vouchers. "School supplies?" tweet on her first day. And that's a big problem for people who see the education secretary's primary role as managing public schools, which a majority of American students attend. In her home state of Michigan, DeVos and her husband have championed charter schools - to positive effect.
Proponents for DeVos say that she could bring much-needed reform to the United States education system. "One of the reasons why they proliferated so much is because you get tax breaks through the New Market Tax Credit, which is why you have a lot of hedge funds involved in charter schools".