by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Among those attacking the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the new U.S. education secretary, there’s at least one person who seems to be repudiating her own past record. Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon explains.
New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan (D.) joined the ranks of Senate Democrats attacking Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, despite her own support for charter schools as governor.
Hassan met with DeVos, the billionaire philanthropist and education reformer tapped by President-elect Trump to lead the Department of Education, on Monday. The freshman senator issued a public statement expressing her reservations about DeVos given her support for school choice.
“I remain very concerned about both her lack of support for and experience with public education,” Hassan said in a statement. “I also have great concerns about her support for diverting taxpayer dollars to private schools without accountability requirements, which would weaken investments in public education.”
Hassan has not always been so “concerned” about private schools.
Hassan proposed an increase to New Hampshire’s charter school budget as governor in 2013, asking the legislature for $42 million compared to $24 million spent in 2012. When that failed, she toured New Hampshire’s first public charter school to tout her plan to open and tax a casino, which she said would be used to expand the charter school system. She heaped praise on charter schools, saying that they could help improve the public school system.
“Ultimately, the idea of charter schools is they’re like laboratories and that what you learn from best practices in charter schools you integrate back into all public schools so that eventually what you should have is a public school system that is addressing different learning styles right there in one school,” Hassan said.
Hassan received more than $20,000 from the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association during the 2016 campaign. Both unions oppose school choice and DeVos’ nomination.