Marrianne Hayward is a high school teacher in Jefferson County who is also president of the county school system American Federation for Teachers affiliate.

Like so many educators she has watched the Betsy DeVos nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education unfold with a sense of foreboding, concern and disappointment.

Here is her statement after DeVos was confirmed today on a 51-50 vote with Vice President Pence breaking the tie.  (A historic first.)

“February 7, 2017 will go down in history as the day Republicans in the U.S. Senate turned their back on public school students, teachers and administrators by confirming Betsy DeVos as the nation’s Secretary of Education,” says Marrianne Hayward, President of the Jefferson County American Federation of Teachers.

“Without doubt, Ms. DeVos is the least qualified person ever nominated for this important position,” Hayward continues.  “She has proven to be ignorant of Federal law, Federal programs and Federal policy.  She admitted during her Senate confirmation hearing that she did not know the Disabilities in Education Act is Federal law.”

Hayward says that she is especially disappointed in Senator Richard Shelby voting for DeVos.  “Senator Shelby was educated in Jefferson County public schools but his vote was a slap in the face to every teacher who taught him,”

Hayward points out that more than 730,000 students attend Alabama public schools, with 100,000 of them in Jefferson County.  Some 90 percent of all students in Alabama go to public schools

“In spite of receiving thousands of messages asking him to vote not to confirm DeVos, Senator Shelby chose politics over children,” says Hayward.  “It is beyond disgusting.”

In addition to Shelby, Hayward points out the Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh and Secretary of State John Merrill also endorsed DeVos.

“I’m sure when these politicians run for office again, they will talk about how much they support public schools,” says Hayward.  “But actions speak louder than words and I hope all educators remember this in 2018.”