DeVos Must Commit to Supporting Transgender Students
The nomination of billionaire political donor Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education has provoked a firestorm of criticism about her inexperience, conflicts of interest, and troubling positions, including on equal opportunity for LGBT students and students with disabilities. With Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) announcing their opposition Wednesday, this nomination could potentially come down to a 50-50 tie broken by the Vice President—but some senators are still uncommitted.
NCTE continues to be opposed to DeVos’s nomination based in part on her troubling record on dignity and fairness for LGBT people. Statements by friends and colleagues supporting Betsy DeVos's nomination about private words of support are far from sufficient to allay our serious concerns about whether she will act to protect the dignity and educational opportunities of millions of LGBT students, including hundreds of thousands of transgender students.
It simply is still the case that Betsy DeVos has personally given to organizations that demean LGBT people as "broken," and has never publicly disavowed such statements. It is still the case that DeVos flunked her confirmation hearing and has been unwilling to commit to holding all schools accountable for following civil rights laws. It is still the case that she supports funneling public funds to private schools that openly discriminate against LGBT students. It is still the case that DeVos has given generously to Senators who vocally oppose the Department's efforts to support LGBT students, and has not distanced herself from that opposition. It is still the case that DeVos has refused to answer dozens of questions about how she would or would not protect the civil rights of LGBT students.
We appreciate that many Americans are growing and evolving in their understanding and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender people. If DeVos truly supports all students, we urge her to publicly commit to maintaining the Department's guidance and other efforts to support LGBT students, which are supported by leading education and child health experts and years of case law. We urge all Senators to vote NO on Betsy Devos.