Below is a message from AFT President Randi Weingarten, but here are a few other DeVos related articles published today:

New York Time article on DeVos’s vulnerability.

Op-Ed piece written by New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan (D) on why DeVos is unfit.

New York Times editorial plea for Republicans to turn against DeVos.

Now on to Randi’s message…

On Wednesday, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski announced they will vote NO on Betsy DeVos—the first Republicans to break ranks on any Trump nominee—and both senators cited their constituents’ overwhelming opposition to DeVos in making their decisions. We need one more Republican to stop this anti-public education nominee.

Schedule for votes:

  1. Cloture vote to end debate: scheduled for Friday, Feb 3. We are hearing from Senate leadership that this is likely to happen around 6:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  2. Final vote on nomination: likely to be Tuesday, Feb. 7.

What’s happening with DeVos’ nomination for secretary of education is already historic and unprecedented. Thanks to a united Democratic caucus and two Republican heroines, the Senate is currently tied 50-50. If that vote holds, Mike Pence will be the first vice president in U.S. history to cast a tiebreaker for a Cabinet nominee.

The Senate is likely to vote on DeVos on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Between now and then, we need all hands on deck to pressure the remaining GOP senators to vote no.

Several key Republicans have expressed doubts about DeVos. We all need to mobilize the opposition. Below is our plan, and how you can help:

Senators who could cast the deciding vote:

Cory Gardner (Colo.)
Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse (Neb.)
Jerry Moran (Kan.)
Dan Sullivan (Alaska)
John McCain (Ariz.)
Rob Portman (Ohio)
Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)
Patrick Toomey (Pa.)

What you can do in target states:

  1. Mobilize key allies to keep calling the local and Washington, D.C., offices—parents, labor allies, community groups—and ask senators not to be the deciding vote that makes DeVos the next education secretary.
  2. Organize in-person actions at the senator’s local office.
    • Post your event on Facebook as a public event and send to your friends.
    • Share the invitation with your state federation and with AFT national staff by emailing the link to Evan Sutton, esutton@aft.org.
    • Notify local press of your event—AFT national will also help publicize your event if desired.
  3. Send a notice to your members encouraging them to call and share the information from your social media accounts.
  4. Write letters to the editor or op-eds in your local papers.

What you can do in other states:

  1. If you have a GOP senator who is voting yes for DeVos, it’s still important for him or her to feel pressure from constituents. Use any of the tactics above to maintain the pressure.
  2. If you have a Democratic senator who is voting no, make sure his or her office knows we appreciate the support.
  3. Encourage any retirees you have in target states to call their senators.

Key messages that are resonating:

  1. Don’t be the deciding vote to confirm Betsy DeVos.
  2. As she showed in her testimony, DeVos lacks the experience or basic understanding needed to perform the job of education secretary.
  3. Her long-term drive for private school vouchers will undermine all districts and especially harm rural schools.
  4. Her lack of understanding of the rights of students with disabilities—and the federal government’s role in protecting them—should disqualify her.
  5. Her push for for-profit charters will undermine local schools and harm students.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten
AFT President

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