DeVos, Murray spar over school safety commission

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate's education panel, m...

Posted: Mar 17, 2018 2:40 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2018 2:40 PM

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate's education panel, met earlier this week after President Donald Trump announced that DeVos would chair a federal commission on school safety.

Since the Tuesday meeting, though, the two have traded barbs about the usefulness of that meeting and how to best curb violence in the nation's schools.

Murray released a blistering statement after the meeting, calling it "extremely disappointing" and questioned whether the commission that the President established would truly help end deadly mass shootings or if it was only the "latest effort to delay and shift the conversation away from the gun safety reforms that people across the country are demanding."

On Friday, Murray wrote a letter to DeVos, saying that she was "troubled and disappointed" by DeVos' lack of specificity and detail, and called on her to release more information about how the committee will work, including how members will be selected, the scope of the work and how it will present its findings.

"It is my sincere hope that this commission will be more than mere window dressing, a delaying tactic, or a platform for ineffective, NRA-approved proposals that place the interests of the gun lobby above the protection of our families," Murray wrote.

In response, Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill told CNN that DeVos has "no desire to engage in the senator's stunts. She's focused on solutions."

"Secretary DeVos requested the meeting with Senator Murray to solicit her input early in the process of organizing the Federal Commission on School Safety because she genuinely wanted to hear the Senator's thoughts and concerns," Hill said. "Instead, the senator, once again, defaulted to her tired posture of partisan politics."

"Now is not the time for that," Hill continued. "It's time to focus on making schools safe for our students and teachers."

DeVos defended the creation of the commission in a CNN op-ed published Friday, saying "people retreating to the usual political corners and talking past each other" does not make students safer.

"There are best practices that are working today in communities across this country, and our commission will spotlight them and disseminate them to every school," she wrote. "This will not be another 18-month Washington commission that yields an unreadable and unactionable report."

DeVos made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, meeting with both Murray and Sen. Lamar Alexander, who chairs the Senate's education panel, as well as a host of other lawmakers.

Taylor Haulsee, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Republican, tweeted out a photo from Alexander's meeting with DeVos and Murray and described it as "productive." Haulsee said the chairman "looks forward to working with the administration and colleagues in Congress on steps that the federal government can take to help our states and local communities improve the safety of our schools."

The meetings came days after DeVos was tapped by the President to lead the federal commission on school safety, and after she was the subject of television interviews that called into question whether she supported Trump's approach to securing the nation's schools.

White House officials were alarmed by the interview, and DeVos' failure to defend the administration's newly proposed school safety measures, according to two sources familiar with their reaction, and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders this week seemed to downplay the secretary's role during her daily press briefing on Monday.

Asked whether DeVos would be the face of the commission, Sanders said, "I think that the President is going to be the lead on school safety when it comes to this administration."

Sanders added that the focus is "not one or two interviews, but on actual policy."

In a rare move, DeVos took to Twitter on Monday to defend her comments, suggesting that some of her comments had been unfairly left out of the interview when it aired.

"I'm fighting every day for every student, in every school -- public and private -- to have a world-class education. We owe that to our children," she wrote.

Huntsville
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Fayetteville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 71°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4944152
Montgomery4021103
Mobile4005134
Tuscaloosa222642
Marshall170210
Lee135937
Madison13597
Shelby122723
Morgan10715
Walker91424
Elmore90314
Franklin88914
Dallas8799
Baldwin8469
Etowah72713
DeKalb7075
Butler62428
Chambers62427
Tallapoosa58869
Autauga58312
Russell5450
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4896
Limestone4810
Houston4794
Lowndes46721
Cullman4394
Pike4205
Colbert3916
Coffee3732
Bullock36810
St. Clair3662
Covington3547
Barbour3472
Escambia3376
Calhoun3325
Hale31021
Talladega3037
Marengo30211
Wilcox2908
Sumter28412
Dale2820
Clarke2736
Jackson2682
Winston2543
Chilton2392
Monroe2342
Blount2301
Pickens2276
Marion21913
Conecuh2047
Randolph2009
Choctaw19512
Bibb1871
Macon1859
Greene1838
Perry1701
Henry1323
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1070
Washington1057
Cherokee857
Geneva790
Lamar751
Fayette681
Clay642
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 50140

Reported Deaths: 637
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11560198
Davidson10726118
Rutherford291935
Hamilton271635
Sumner159352
Trousdale14965
Williamson126815
Out of TN11647
Knox11425
Wilson91017
Putnam8827
Robertson82611
Sevier7903
Lake6910
Bradley6743
Tipton6375
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6191
Bedford5595
Montgomery5497
Macon4523
Maury3423
Hardeman3295
Hamblen3174
Fayette3122
Madison2912
Loudon2801
Rhea2780
Dyer2481
McMinn23218
Cheatham2251
Blount2183
Dickson2060
Cumberland1804
Lawrence1576
Washington1490
Lauderdale1433
Monroe1386
Anderson1342
Gibson1281
Jefferson1270
Coffee1170
Smith1161
Sullivan1162
Obion1122
Hardin1097
Greene1012
Cocke910
Haywood912
Marshall891
Franklin843
Wayne820
Hickman800
Warren730
Marion704
White703
McNairy690
DeKalb660
Lincoln630
Weakley631
Overton611
Roane610
Grundy591
Giles581
Carter571
Hawkins562
Unicoi550
Campbell481
Carroll481
Henderson450
Polk450
Claiborne440
Henry440
Johnson440
Grainger420
Sequatchie380
Cannon360
Crockett353
Chester340
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys271
Jackson260
Morgan251
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Union180
Scott170
Clay160
Houston150
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Lewis60
Pickett60
Hancock40

 

 

Community Events