President Donald Trump’s nomination of private charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to be education secretary has been put in jeopardy by Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
Collins told fellow senators in a floor speech that she will not vote to confirm DeVos, even though she will support bringing the nomination to the floor for consideration. She says DeVos has been a good advocate for school choice, but still has reservations.
“I am concerned that Mrs. DeVos’s lack of experience with public schools will make it difficult for her to fully understand, identify and assist with those challenges, particularly for our rural schools in states like Maine,” she says.
Collins says she’s concerned that during her confirmation hearing, DeVos did not seem to understand the importance of the landmark 1975 IDEA act, the law requiring that students with disabilities get an appropriate public school education.
In the closely divided Senate, Collins’ vote could be crucial. Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined Collins in announcing her opposition, and one more Republican defection could doom DeVos’ chances.
Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine announced his opposition earlier this week.