Confirmation of Betsy DeVos generates mixed opinions in Palm Beach County

Posted at 5:53 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 20:14:22-05

After an historic vote on the senate floor Tuesday, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie, Betsy DeVos has now been confirmed as the new U.S Secretary of Education.

For some, Betsy DeVos represents a new realm of opportunities when it comes to school choice. For others, they question the her fitness for office and the fairness of her potential policies.

It was a narrow yet major victory for the Republicans. Especially since two of the party’s senators voted against the president’s controversial pick.

“Their families will now be in charge of where they go to school,” said Sid Dinerstein, the former chair of the Palm Beach County Republican Party and a proponent of charter schools.

Dinerstein says DeVos’s outward support of school vouchers and charter schools will be a game changer for students from all backgrounds.

"They’re now going to have opportunities. They’re going to have access to the American Dream." 

However, others still question whether the billionaire is even qualified for the position she now holds.

“She has had extremely limited contact with public schools,” said Kathi Gundlach, the president of the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association.

“The question to me is how can somebody who has no knowledge be running a department such as the Department of Education?”

Gundlach says this is not a union issue or even a Democrat issue. Rather, she says, a fairness issue, referencing some of the very issues DeVos supports.

“There’s concerns about funding and how they’ll fund programs such as title one programs and IDEA…she didn’t know what that was,” said Gundlach.