on betsy devos – because i can’t be silent


Image is a photo of Besty DeVos at her Senate Confirmation hearing yesterday. 

Just two days ago, in celebrating the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, I shared one of his many oft-recited quotes here.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

Today, I picked up the phone and called Washington.

I called my state’s senators. And then I kept dialing.

I called every single senator on the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) Committee. I pleaded with them to block the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. My plea was less articulate than I’d hoped. It was emotional. It was urgent. I found myself shaking. In the middle of one call, I had to wipe away tears before I could continue.

Because I’d seen this:

And this ..

Because I’d seen every one of these and couldn’t agree more that the whole thing was pretty much an unmitigated disaster.

Because I couldn’t help but nod like a bobble head in the rear window of a car on a dirt country road as I read this and this.

Because I know what’s possible when we protect, include, and value ALL children and I’ve seen what happens when we don’t.

So I picked up the phone and I dialed. This was basically what I said, twenty-four times.

I’m calling to implore the senator to everything in his / her power to block the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.

Having watched the hearing I was appalled by her lack of knowledge of the most basic laws, especially IDEA, which she so cavalierly and patently incorrectly stated was an issue for the states to discuss. While I’m all for local control there are times in which federal protection is simply vital.

I have an autistic daughter who would be nowhere without IDEA and its insistence upon her access to a free and appropriate education with her peers, where she belongs and where she has thrived.

I strongly believe in reforming and improving our nations public schools rather than dismantling the entire system as Ms Devos has advocated.

Given her utter lack of experience, her inability or refusal to answer direct, basic questions about her own ideology and any plans she may have to implement it, her painful ignorance of and refusal to commit to enforcing the laws already in place, and her total disregard for the dire consequences of her radical proposals, it is imperative that the senator help to block her confirmation.

Because too many lives hang in the balance.

Below is the list of all Senators on the Senate HELP Committee, who heard testimony from Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos. If you don’t like what you see when you watch, call them. Feel free to use my words or come up with your own. But please, I”m begging … don’t be silent. 

Alexander, Lamar (TN),Chairman
Phone: (202) 224-4944

Enzi, Michael B. (WY)
Phone: (202) 224-3424

Burr, Richard (NC)
(202) 224-3154

Isakson, Johnny (GA)
(202) 224 – 3643

Paul, Rand (KY)

Collins, Susan M. (ME)
(202) 224 – 2523

Cassidy, Bill (LA)
(202) 224-5824

Young, Todd (IN)
(202) 224 – 5623

Hatch, Orrin G. (UT)
(202) 224-5251

Roberts, Pat (KS)

Murkowski, Lisa (AK)

Scott, Tim (SC)
(202) 224-6121

Murray, Patty (WA), Ranking Member
(202) 224-2621

Sanders, Bernard (VT)
(202) 224-5141

Casey, Robert P. (PA)
(202) 224-6324

Franken, Al (MN)
(202) 224-5641

Bennet, Michael F. (CO)

Whitehouse, Sheldon (RI)
(202) 224-2921

Baldwin, Tammy (WI)
(202) 224-5653

Murphy, Christopher (CT)
(202) 224-4041

Warren, Elizabeth (MA)
(202) 224-4543

Kaine, Tim (VA)
(202) 224-4024

Hassan, Margaret Wood (NH)
(202) 224-3324

Thank you.

15 thoughts on “on betsy devos – because i can’t be silent

  1. I didn’t think anything could be more depressing than Trump’s braying ignorance…but listening to DeVos speak during these hearings, it’s a genuine nightmare. Except I guess it’s not, it’s real. The disregard for vulnerable lives and the community supports that protect those lives…what have we done to ourselves? Trump, his empathy-deprived sycophants…they’re about to willfully inflict generational damage on a lot of necessary ideas and policies and supports. I hope people will not just read headlines and opinions…actually listen to the words of DeVos. Skip everything else and just listen to what she says. Her mix of confusion, ignorance and indifference toward the disabled…it’s profoundly depressing.

  2. I’m working today but found a couple of minutes to call my State Senator with the message. I almost cried when leaving the message.

    Love you,

  3. I’m starting my phone calls tomorrow! We shouldn’t have to beg our representatives to have some common sense!!!!! Devos is totally unqualified for a position that directly affects our education system! Please listen to reason from a 30 year retired teacher!

  4. I saw DeVos’s confirmation hearings and I was mortified. Her responses were unerving. She is not qualified to be Dept of Ed Secretary, but neither is the incoming person who is about to be President. I called my state senator. I have watched all the confirmation hearings and I just cannot take it. I will call everyday if I have to.

  5. PLEASE, if you have the time at your disposal, do not stop at phone calls to their main numbers. Those calls are valuable, but in a lot of offices your comments get reduced to a tally mark, for or against.

    I’m a lobbyist, and one of the sick truths about our system is that members of Congress do not have to publish their staff lists, but the staff members responsible for whatever issue area you are concerned with–education, here–those are the people with influence who you want to talk to. Lobbyists have paid subscriptions to services that tell us who those staff are. Taxpayers don’t.

    There is one site that endeavors to publish this info: http://congressional-staff.insidegov.com. It’s not always accurate. Filter by your member and issue area and from there you can at a minimum call the office and ask for their voicemail or email address. Many will not respond, but if you are a constituent, put that in the subject line.

    The committees have staff also who work for the chairman or ranking member. If you are concerned about legislation, contact them.

    This would probably get me in huge trouble if anyone ever found out, but Jess, I believe you will have my email address from my comment. If you want to names of the right staff for the MA delegation, well, I think you know how to reach me. You are such a powerful advocate and your voice is needed in DC. If I could help make the connections to give your voice an amplifier, I will in a heartbeat.

  6. Pingback: A Call to Action Part Two | Brick, NJ Shorebeat -- News, Real Estate, Events, Community, Sports, Business

  7. Pingback: A Call to Action Part Two | Autism Mommy-Therapist

  8. I just called three senators. I was stumbling over my words and sounded a little crazy at times, but I did it. I could not believe how upset I was. I too have an autistic child who attends an amazing public school with amazing public school teachers. I’m worried that under her leadership public schools will become warehouses for children with special needs. The best thing she could do for this country and our future is to step down!

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