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Feb 1, 2017 12:35 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton School Board Formally Opposes Betsy DeVos For U.S. Secretary of Education

The East Hampton School District Building. JON WINKLER
Feb 7, 2017 4:06 PM

The East Hampton School Board unanimously approved a resolution opposing the appointment of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education at its budget work session on Tuesday, January 31—one week before Ms. DeVos earned full Senate confirmation, 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a tie vote.

The resolution passed with strong support from the School Board, which referred to Ms. DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and frequent donor to the Republican Party, as “apparently lacking any credentials as an educator, experience in the administration and management of public schools [and] demonstrating a predisposition toward and long history of support for charter schools and school voucher programs, which by their very nature undermine free and appropriate public education for specific economic, social and racial groups.”

In a follow-up interview regarding the resolution, District Superintendent Richard Burns focused on the importance of public education not just to the community but to the country itself.

“Public education is the foundation of our society,” Mr. Burns said last week. “It’s not so much broken but under-resourced. We get these mandates, but they don’t help us fund it. A focus on charter schools takes money away from public schools—and we can’t afford that. We have two revenue sources: local and state taxes, and mandates, pensions, benefits drive up costs. Regular education is the shock absorber to the mandates.”

Ms. DeVos was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday despite Democrats claiming that her comments at a Senate hearing on January 17 made her appear to be unfit for the position. Ms. DeVos has been criticized for her lack of experience in the education system, her lack of knowledge of education policy, and her focus on private schools over public schools despite most American children being public school students.

The U.S. Senate also questioned Ms. DeVos’s past statements on government and education, including her referring to public schools as a “dead end.” This garnered the attention of Lars Clemensen, superintendent of the Hampton Bays School District, who made a series of Facebook posts calling her hearing “an insult” and taking issue with her comment about public schools.

“I don’t work on a dead end. I work on an ‘on ramp,’ where my students accelerate, pursuing amazing destinations. Come visit MY public schools and tell me it’s a dead end. I dare you,” he posted on January 18.

“I will approach the next four years as an American, wishing my leaders luck and support. To quote today’s benediction, remember ‘the least, the lost, and the last’ among us. But, then president’s view of our (my) education system is wrong—‘flush with cash, but leaving our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.’ The educators in my life also won’t recognize it. We’re not yet to the promised land for every student every day, but we’re so much more than this and we have so much to lose if this is our mindset,” he posted on January 20.

“MY students deserve an advocate not an antagonist,” he posted on January 30.

When asked for a follow-up to his comments, Mr. Clemensen said that he and the Hampton Bays School Board’s legislative work group discussed concerns about other statements Ms. DeVos has made, specifically regarding students with disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and civil rights protections for all students. “If she is to be confirmed, I am hopeful that she is committed to learning about and supporting public education,” he said in an email this week. “That was not a sentiment I felt she conveyed strongly in the hearing.”

Ms. DeVos’s stance and comments have caused concern for school board officials not only on the East End but in the entire state.

In response to New York State Senators Charles Schumer’s and Kirsten Gillibrand’s votes against Ms. DeVos’s appointment, Charles Dedrick, executive director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, wrote a letter on behalf of the council applauding the senators’ decision.

“During her confirmation hearing, it became abundantly clear that Ms. DeVos not only does not have a commitment to public education but lacks the requisite educational expertise to guide this critical agency,” the letter read. “From her poor understanding of federal special education statutes to her troubling view on charter school accountability, or lack thereof, she did nothing to assuage our concerns.”

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This is coming from a school board who lost millions in a lawsuit about a construction contract. This country is basically rated number 20 in the world on education , and these board clowns want to talk incompetence, and like business as usual.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 1, 17 12:43 PM
You know everything about everything, Chief. go ahead and give the Republicans $200M and even YOU could get this job.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Feb 1, 17 2:50 PM
You don't know what you're talking about, you're also abusive in your language. You have no right to call this school board, clowns. You must not have children attending East Hampton High. We need money and a leader who is competent, not one who has no experience, a, a billionaire, and has given so much money to this new administration. You sir, are the clown
By Pamela Willoughby (2), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:33 PM
> East Hampton School Board Formally Opposes
> U.S. Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos

Oh, that's make a big difference!

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Feb 1, 17 1:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Board should do more productive things with their time.
By Amagansett Voter (62), Amagansett on Feb 1, 17 1:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
Good for them. She's no friend of public education and unqualified for the job. Any fair person who watched the hearings would come to that conclusion regardless of party affiliation. She is clueless.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 1, 17 1:57 PM
She's no friend of the unions you mean. So afraid the gravy train will end.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Feb 1, 17 6:54 PM
3 members liked this comment
The hearings were straight up embarrassing for her. After watching, I was honestly speechless. She is so unbelievably unqualified.
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Feb 1, 17 8:02 PM
... totally unqualified for the job.Trump cant make the Sec.of Ed position a political plum. Too much at risk. Good move EH BofE. All districts should follow suit.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Feb 1, 17 2:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
Our school board is fantastic. Who cares what whiners from Southampton have to say?
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 1, 17 3:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hahahahahah, Have another glass of the Kool Aid!, you should pay closer attention to "Your" school board
By 75Shovel (15), Southampton on Feb 1, 17 4:33 PM
2 members liked this comment
Oh yeah. They're geniuses.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Feb 1, 17 8:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
That's right. Lee Zeldin the congressman from Southampton is also for the ban on Muslims, a racist ban if we've ever seen one. Mr. Zeldin is under attack by many of us here. Who needs Southampton is right!
By Pamela Willoughby (2), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:36 PM
Pam, if a Muslim from India came to the US today, he would have been allowed to come into the country. Same as a Muslim from France, Indonesia and the vast majority of Muslim majority countries.

So which is it, are you willfully trying to mislead people or are you unable to accurately comprehend an Executive Order which doesn't even contain the worlds Islam or Muslim?
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Charter schools are public schools. Nice reporting. Embarrassing even for the Press.
By fishy (92), East Hampton on Feb 1, 17 4:40 PM
2 members liked this comment
Publicly funded, but privately owned. Mainly desired by rent seekers who own the land, building(s), or both to profit from John Q. Taxpayer with some help from their friends in government. In some but not most cases, the charter school actually owns it's assets. As an example, less than 30% of Colorado charter schools benefit from space granted by the school district they reside in.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 1, 17 6:43 PM
Lets go to all charter schools, probably cheaper. BOE's are real smart, ask them...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 1, 17 5:05 PM
Of course you love the Dems Blank. You have or had a govt job that guarantees your paycheck no matter how incompetent you are. Being twentieth at anything deserves review.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 1, 17 5:38 PM
troll (trōl)
plural noun: trolls

1. a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post.

1. a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting.

2. a line or bait used in trolling for fish.

verb: troll; 3rd person present: trolls; past tense: trolled; past participle: trolled; gerund or present participle: trolling

1. make a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 1, 17 6:30 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Feb 1, 17 10:36 PM
Go ahead and tell us all about her qualifications for the job. I'll wait.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Feb 3, 17 12:27 PM
2 members liked this comment
In pother words, the school board bent over to the teacher's union (yet again) and said, don't worry, we'll continue to pay you overpaid slugs triple what the other states pay so you can continue to turn in mediocre performances.
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Feb 1, 17 9:07 PM
3 members liked this comment
The sooner we can release the grip of school unions on the legacy school system in this country, the sooner our children will begin to get a standard of education which reflects the huge sums of money spent on it. The unfortunate truth is that a wholly disproportionate amount of funding for schools is spent on teachers' salaries, perks, pensions. The actual salary of of a teacher per se may not be mind boggling but you have to consider the massive cost of healthcare, pensions, tenure..I could go ...more
By BeReal (4), Southampton on Feb 1, 17 10:21 PM
Keep the populus dumb and they will be less likely to see through the politicians lies until it is too late. One of the bedrock principles of modern American democracy.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Feb 1, 17 10:29 PM
The only thing the EH Board is worried about is their monopoly; the education of the districts children is far behind enriching the bloated overpaid staff.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Feb 2, 17 11:51 AM
This is only topped by Cantwell suggesting that East Hampton become a sanctuary Town. Our local boards should put a hat pin in their egos. Why doesnt the School Board first work on their own issues - like where to put their new bus depot. Their initial thought had Cedar Street residents up in arms and their current thinking is even more scholarly. Can you imagine parking your kids buses on the old scavenger waste site - a site that, while operational, was faulted for being a potential superfund ...more
By pluff (60), East Hampton on Feb 2, 17 5:43 PM
Okay. Now we all know how EH school board feels.....Next
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:35 PM
God forbid those losers lift up a successful woman and teach respect towards those who don't share your views. Better to have legions of children graduate only to spend their life serving successful people
Feb 7, 17 4:12 AM appended by SlimeAlive
DeVos is chairwoman of the Windquest Group, a privately held operating group that invests in technology, manufacturing, and clean energy. DeVos and her husband founded it in 1989. She was Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan from 1992 to 1997 and served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000, with reelection to the post in 2003. DeVos has been an advocate of the Detroit charter school system[6][7] and she is a member of the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She has served as chairwoman of the board of Alliance for School Choice and Acton Institute and heads the All Children Matter PAC Betsy and her husband Dick are chief investors in and board members of Neurocore, a group of brain performance centers offering biofeedback therapy for disorders such as depression, attention deficit disorder, autism, and anxiety.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Feb 7, 17 4:12 AM
How is she successful? The only thing she's ever done is marry money and donate to republicans. Then again, I guess landing a billionaire is it's own form of success.
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Feb 7, 17 8:19 AM
The left can't face an empty life void of common core and syrian refugees.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Feb 8, 17 8:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Donald J. Trump is making some real changes. You can thank him later.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Feb 12, 17 10:51 PM
Now y'all have really sank to the bottom for trolling! Have you read the latest newspaper, listened to news from some source other than a Fox enterprise?
Do you realize that the esteemed bimbo has sold our country to Russia? All in the name of Party Politics?..... I wonder just how fast we will go the way of other lost civilizations?
By summertimegal (97), southampton on Feb 14, 17 7:45 AM
If only you were this upset when 140 innocent cops were killed in the line of duty last year. Or maybe you were this upset when obama sold us out to Iran and paid them ransom $$. Maybe you were upset when obama told russia to hang tight while he got re-elected. Nah, probably not.

Obama had 20 cabinet members resign in 8 years.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Feb 14, 17 7:56 AM
All of the above!!!!!!! The Republican Party from the top down have sold us out. They are the ones who let The Infantile Loud Mouth get this far. The End.
By summertimegal (97), southampton on Feb 14, 17 8:14 AM
All of the above!!!!!!! The Republican Party from the top down have sold us out. They are the ones who let The Infantile Loud Mouth get this far. The End.
By summertimegal (97), southampton on Feb 14, 17 8:14 AM
I'm glad they voted on a matter they had nothing to do with... Another vote for voting WOW, debate???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 16, 17 1:02 PM