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Local Parents and Advocates Upset Over Betsy DeVos Confirmation

Local Parents and Advocates Upset Over Betsy DeVos Confirmation
Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 13:51:50-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Parents and education advocates in Leon County say they're upset with the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.

The U.S. Senate was deadlocked yesterday, forcing Vice President Mike Pence to make a historic tie-breaking vote.

"She has never taught in a public school. She never went to public school. Her kids never to public school," said Beth Overholt, a Leon County parent. "How can she know about public schools?"

It's a question these women are asking. And despite nationwide opposition, Betsy DeVos is the nation's top education leader.

Overholt said, "There were many, many parents who called and spoke out about this and called our senators and said, 'Do not vote for Betsy DeVos. We had legitimate concerns as parents against her."

For this group, it's not about politics, but more about education and what DeVos will do with funding.

"I'm concerned that our public money will be spread out too thinly to support voucher programs, shore up private schools," said Marie-Claire Leman, another local parent.

"We're hoping that she will do the right thing," said Catherine Baer, an education advocate,"and we will continue to be involved and be active."

Most parents in America have their kids in public schools, but in recent years, more and more are pulling them out of that system. concerned about what legislators are doing for their children.

"I really did it more for control for my family," said Meredith Mears, who is homeschooling her children.

Meredith Mears has been homeschooling her two daughters for the past four years. She says DeVos represents why she left public education.

"I have watched and listened to many parents -- a lot of moms -- crying over her nomination and since her appointment, because what she had done to Michigan's public schools was basically destroy them," explained Mears.

"Kind of like when your daughter gets married to someone that you don't want -- and they're married, so what are you going to do?" said Baer. "You're going to accept, and you're going to move on from there."

The women are working on legislation to eliminate "common core" and excessive testing in local schools. They say they hope DeVos will publicly oppose "common core" during her tenure.