On Feb. 7, the Senate confirmed billionaire Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education in a 51-50 vote. The night before the confirmation featured Senate Democrats taking the floor to denounce DeVos and attempt to dissuade Republican Senators in a lengthy session. Protests outside the Senate also took place as a demonstration of public disapproval.
The Senate votes resulted in a tie, forcing Mike Pence to cast a the breaking vote. This confirmation was historic, not only for the incredibly close division – it marks the first time a Vice President had to vote on his own administration’s cabinet nominee.
DeVos’s role as Secretary of Education has been disputed since her nomination, resulting in protests and public outcry. Her general lack of experience with public schools and controversial policies fuel her disreputable public standing.
Most notably, DeVos’s wealth and financial standing have brought her under public scrutiny. Through donations to the Republican senators overseeing her trial, some believe her financial status contributed to her nomination in spite of her shaky credentials and controversy.
Despite protests and dissension, DeVos has officially been inaugurated into her position at the head of the Education Department. Whether her policies in favor of charter schools over public schools will be enacted and her performance in this role remains to be seen.