PHILADELPHIA— Mayor Jim Kenney sent the following letter to Senator Pat Toomey today, urging him to vote “no” on Betsy DeVos’ appointment to Secretary of Education. The full text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Senator Toomey,

Throughout the Senate confirmation process, it has become very clear that Betsy DeVos is uniquely unqualified to be the U.S. Secretary of Education. She lacks experience in public education as well as knowledge of basic educational policy issues. On charters, her record shows that rather than be a champion of school choice, she’s a proponent of the bad policies that cause low-performing charters to give the whole charter sector a bad name.

I have personally served on a charter school board, and I attended parochial schools. Ultimately, this vote is not about charters or private schools versus traditional public schools. This is not even a partisan issue at all. This is about whether the U.S. Senate should appoint someone to a job she does not understand, which could have tremendous consequences for our most vulnerable children and our economy. The easy answer to that question is “no.”

I urge you to deny her confirmation as Secretary of Education and do what’s right for our children and the future prosperity of our nation. We have made so much progress here in Philadelphia over the past year to improve our education system. We’ve created an affordable, quality pre-K program, a move that was urged and supported by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. We’ve implemented a Community Schools strategy to address our students’ non-academic needs, so that our hardworking teachers can focus on instruction.

A vote for Betsy DeVos would place all this progress in jeopardy. I urge you to come visit a Philadelphia school with me and see for yourself. Please vote no on Mrs. DeVos.

Mayor Jim Kenney

City of Philadelphia