With Vice President Mike Pence formally casting the vote to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate, Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as the next Secretary of Education.
DeVos, whose vigorous enthusiasm for school choice and presumed support of Title IX reform make her one of Trump's better Cabinet picks, encountered furious opposition from Democrats. Indeed, the left fought DeVos harder than they fought Jeff Sessions, Trump's Attorney General pick. Sessions opposes criminal justice reform, asset forfeiture reform, and immigration reform, but knocking out DeVos was a higher priority for liberals.
That's due to the all-consuming influence of public teachers unions, which remain one of the most powerful political forces in the Democratic Party and a constant obstacle to education reform. If DeVos can do anything to diminish the teachers unions' ability to thwart change in the education system, her nomination will have been well worth the fight.
Needless to say, enemies of education reform are freaking out.
Randi Weingarten called DeVos's confirmation "a sad day for children."
Here was Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson in a since-deleted tweet:
Not an exaggeration in any sense.
The Women's March tweeted an anti-DeVos statement as well—undermining the idea that the movement is grounded in opposition to mistreatment of women:
Here was Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani:
But it was the Dems who voted strictly along party lines: two Republicans actually voted against DeVos. And no one deserves as much criticism for using children as pawns as union leadership does. The unions claim to be serving the interests of kids and families, but their job is to protect bad teachers from accountability and use membership fees to fund left-wing causes.
And then there was this:
Vouchers, one of the most important school choice reforms, allow disadvantaged minority students to take the money that would have gone toward their obligatory, failing school and spend it somewhere else. It's the public education system that creates de facto segregation: by forcing students to attend the school assigned to them.
The lies the left has told to try to convince the public that school choice is a bad thing are nothing short of remarkable. No, charter schools in Detroit are not a miserable failure, as The New York Times claimed. Nor are economists weirdly skeptical of school choice.
As Nick Gillespie wrote earlier today:
The Democrats are closely allied with teachers unions, who threatened by any and all changes to the educational status quo. So of course they oppose Betsy DeVos and they will use any club on the ground to beat down her chances. But to the extent that DeVos—and Trump, too, who has been outspoken on the need for more school choice—are in favor of giving more students and more parents more choices when it comes educating their kids, they are on the side of the angels. A recent poll found that 68 percent of Americans favor expanding school choice, including 55 percent of self-described Democrats, 75 percent among Latinos, 75 percent among millennials, and 72 percent among blacks. Contemporary politics may not allow partisans to admit that (or even see it), but for those of us who are neither pro-Trump across the board or always anti-Democratic Party, the conversation surrounding the DeVos nomination is everything that's wrong with Washington.
Of course, if Democrats remain utterly opposed to DeVos, they still have one option left: support Rep. Thomas Massie's bill to eliminate the Education Department. That would sure teach libertarians and conservatives a lesson.