Senate committee hearings on the nomination of billionaire Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education are scheduled for January 11 in the Dirksen Office Building.


She has made campaign contributions to four members of the committee that will interview her, so it is likely that her approval is a foregone conclusion.


However, members of the committee of both parties should be prepared with good questions to draw out her experience, her background, her ideology, and her views.


Here are a few for members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to consider:


  1. Do you intend to pay the state of Ohio the $5.2 million that you owe for campaign finance violations?
  2. Are you aware of the widespread fraud and profiteering in the charter industry in Michigan?
  3. If you are Secretary of Education, what would you do to reduce fraud, waste and abuse in the charter industry?
  4. Why do you support cybercharters when research consistently shows that they deliver a substandard education, with low tests scores, high attrition, and low graduation rates?
  5. Why do you oppose regulation and oversight of charter schools?
  6. Do you believe that students who use public funds to go to religious schools should be subject to the same standards and tests as students  in public schools?
  7. Do you think that Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he recommended a separation of church and state?
  8. Should religious schools that accept public funding be required to hire certified teachers? If not, why not?
  9. Do you think that Detroit is a good model for the rest of the nation? It has more children in charter schools than public schools, and charter schools do not get better performance than public schools.
  10. Do you think that Milwaukee is a good model for the rest of the nation? It has vouchers, charter schools, and traditional public schools, yet is one of the lowest performing urban districts, only slightly ahead of Detroit, which is at the very bottom on NAEP.
  11. Do you know what NAEP is?
  12. What programs of the U.S. Department of Education are you planning to change?
  13. What is your knowledge of federal funding for higher education? How would you change it?
  14. What do you know about federal funding of students with special needs? How would you change it?
  15. About 85% of American students attend traditional public schools. Other than urging them to go to nonpublic schools, what ideas do you have to improve their schools?


Please suggest your questions.