Utahns Protest & Praise DeVos Before Senate Vote


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Utahns have been protesting and praising Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos. The Senate Education Committee is expected to vote Tuesday on her confirmation and protesters are pushing for Senators to vote no.

Donald Aguirre of Utah Indivisible led a protest outside the Federal Building in Salt Lake City Monday. Dozens of people including several teachers were on hand to voice anger over her nomination.

“Her family has donated close to $200 million to the Republican party,” said Aguirre. “I think this is a bought and sold position, and I think it’s ridiculous.”

DeVos has faced criticism for never being employed in the education field. DeVos has been a proponent of more school choice for several years. Many educators including Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews claims what many call choice is just taking away funding form public schools.

” I liken that choice to kind of looking at a piece of pie, and saying you can take any piece of the pie you want, and someone takes a piece right in the middle,” aid Matthews. “So that one choice in the pie affects all the others.”

DeVos’ nomination has received praise form several in Utah because of her position on charter schools, and more options for families.

Connor Boyack, who is President of Libertas Institute, believes DeVos could be a good person to have at the top of education. He says her ideas for school choice is popular here in the state.

While much of school policy is made at the state level Boyack hopes DeVos will allow local entities to take a bigger role.

“I think the best thing she can do whether or not she promotes school choice or anything in particular like that,” said Boyack. “Is to just get the federal government as much as possible out of education, leave it to the states and local communities to experiment and find different approaches.”

Orrin Hatch is on the Senate Education Committee and is expected to vote on DeVos’ confirmation. If she is approved then her confirmation will be voted on by the full senate.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...