SAVANNAH, Ga. – Savannah-Chatham school officials are concerned for the future of their students all because Education leaders say the nominee for the secretary of education is under-qualified.
“I brought with me a little over 100 letters that had been either emailed or hand delivered to give to him to share with him the communities feelings about the nominee for Secretary of Education,” Jolene Byrne, Savannah-Chatham County school board president, said.
Byrne visited with state lawmakers recently in Washington D.C and spoke with Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue before the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos on the position.
“He said that he understood that we had concerns this person did not understand IDEA, the law that protects children with disabilities,” Byrne said.
When Isakson voted on Tuesday he had already made up his mind.
“He mentioned that he understood that she doesn’t have experience with public education,” Byrne said. “But he’s going to support her. He said that his wife is very knowledgeable about IDEA and that he plans to personally make it his job to educate the secretary on that law.”
In that same meeting, Byrne spoke with Perdue whose vote will matter when it comes to the final decision.
“He promised me that he would read each one of those letters and he spent some time listening to our concerns as well,” Byrne said.
If DeVos is voted to the position Byrne says Congressman Buddy Carter will have our back for educators and kids in Georgia.
“He has assured me that education is still a priority and that he’s going to be working with us,” Byrne said. “He’ll be able to take whatever it is that our policy concerns are and he can use that in making his decisions on voting on funding.”
Even though it’s not an outcome many want, Byrne says they will support DeVos for the sake of the kids.
“We do everything we can to work with her and to help support her efforts, but also to educate her about the concerns and the needs of children in our district as well as the nation,” Byrne said.
We reached out to Senator Isakson for a comment, but have yet to hear back. A final confirmation vote for the position has also not been scheduled yet.