Menendez: DeVos Wrong for NJ Public Education, Students

Menendez: DeVos Wrong for NJ Public Education, Students

Senator announces opposition to Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos during conversation with NJ educators NJ teachers, administrators share concerns that DeVos would erode public education system, put profits ahead of kids

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today announced that he will vote “no” on Betsy DeVos’ nomination to head the U.S. Department of Education during a conference call with New Jersey teachers and school administrators.

“We should not entrust the future of our children to someone who has never participated in our public education system—either as a student, parent, administrator, or educator—and fundamentally misunderstands vital pieces of federal legislation like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),” said Sen. Menendez.  “Mrs. DeVos’ only education policies have expressly sought to pull funding away from our public schools.  Instead, we should be increasing our investment in the next generation, and guaranteeing that a free, high-quality education is the birthright of every American.”

(File photo: Sen. Menendez visiting a school in Orange, N.J.)

The senator heard directly from New Jersey educators that a DeVos-led Department of Education would negatively impact local schools and children. 

“The concerns that I have heard here today have reinforced my own substantial reservations with Mrs. DeVos’ nomination, and nothing in her record nor testimony in her confirmation hearing has done anything to ease the fears of so many families and educators,” Sen. Menendez told the educators. 

Taking part in the conversation were: Rich D’Avanzo, an eighth grade U.S. history teacher at Burnet Middle School in Union Twp. (Union); Dana Meixner, a special education teacher at Union (Twp.) High School (Union); Dr. Louis Moore, superintendent of the Red Bank Regional School District (Monmouth); Union City District Supervisor Krystle Santaniello (Hudson); Rebecca Schaliack, a fifth grade teacher at Mary S. Shoemaker Elementary School in Woodstown (Salem); Laurie Schorno; a middle school special education math teacher at Morris Plains Middle School (Morris); and Maryann Woods-Murphy, Nutley Public Schools’ gifted and talented specialist (Essex).

Sen. Menendez on a conference call with New Jersey educators from his D.C. office

A product of New Jersey’s public schools, Sen. Menendez has long championed access to a free, high-quality public education for New Jersey’s children, advocated expansion of early childhood education programs, and fought to reduce the cost of college and federal student loans. 

Sen. Menendez began his more-than-four-decade career in public service trying to reform his hometown schools in Union City, and—at the age of 20—became the youngest in New Jersey history at the time to be elected to serve on a local school board.