Alabama education leaders weigh in on DeVos interview

Alabama education leaders weigh in on DeVos interview

(WAFF) - The Senate committee bombarded Betsy DeVos with questions over the last two days.

Some education leaders in Alabama say DeVos isn't qualified to be a teacher, let alone Secretary of Education, while others like Mary Scott Hunter of the Alabama State Board of Education say she's a great candidate and her nerves led to her peculiar responses.

"It is the very definition of a hot seat. It's not an easy environment to do well in," said Hunter. "The ones that have had trouble, Rex Tillerson, Betsy DeVos, they're not politicians. That's not their background."

Hunter said DeVos is more knowledgeable than she led on during her hearing before the Senate committee.

"She didn't demonstrate as much knowledge on key issues as we would have expected, but you can write that off to nerves. There could be a lot of reasons for that," said Hunter.

Hunter is behind DeVos but not 100 percent. She said DeVos needs to prove herself first.

"I support Betsy DeVos and the nomination, but it's a qualified support. She needs to win my trust. She needs to win the trust of the states and for those of us who are out there in the trenches doing the work," said Hunter.

Others like Adam Keller of the Alabama Education Association chalk up DeVos' questionable answers to a lack of experience.

"Her lack of knowledge and experience with public education is very disturbing. I don't think any teacher in this school district would be hired with those kind of answers," said Keller.

Keller said DeVos' history with charter schools has them preparing for the worst.

"We're of course hoping for the best with Ms. DeVos, but her past actions have us forced us to prepare to fight to protect Alabama public schools. In particular, the funding that goes to our public schools," he said.

Time will tell if DeVos is up to the job.

"The jury is still out, and one thing is certain. If Mr. Trump doesn't like what you're doing, he's going to fire you, so Betsy DeVos will have to do a good job and she will have to do it quickly," said Hunter.

The Office of Government Ethics is also looking into DeVos' wealth and financial investments.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said they'll vote on confirming DeVos as Secretary of Education once that is complete.

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