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March 18, 2016

John King Squeaks Through On Tepid 49–40 Confirmation Vote

Andrew Mullins, Deputy Director
HSLDA Federal Relations Department


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Andrew Mullins ANDREW MULLINS Federal Relations deputy director

It was hardly smooth sailing on the evening of March 14 as the Senate voted to confirm President Obama’s U.S. Secretary of Education nominee, John King.

HSLDA and allied organizations strongly opposed the confirmation of John King. As New York Secretary of Education, King was a living symbol of everything that’s wrong with government overreach in education.

King’s record of undermining student privacy, combined with his unswerving support for the Common Core Standards, indicated that he would have little respect for the right of parents to direct the education of their children—and would certainly be unwilling to reduce the dangerously expansive federal role in education. On top of that, King’s history of bullying and silencing parents and teachers during hearings in New York warned us that he would show little regard for the millions of families who would be directly affected by his actions as U.S. Secretary of Education.

Homeschoolers made their voices heard in King’s confirmation vote. Thanks to the action of thousands of families around the country, the Senate’s tepid 49–40 confirmation vote for John King is hardly a stamp of approval for an incoming cabinet member (especially when compared with their unanimous confirmation of former Education Secretary Arne Duncan).

A telling sign of strong opposition to King was his failure to even win the vote of fellow New Yorker, Senator Kristen Gillibrand, who referred to his New York tenure as “Adversarial, leaving families, students and teachers without a voice on important issues[.]” Senators Mike Lee (UT) and James Lankford (OK) also made strong floor speeches opposing the nomination. (Text/Video of floor remarks: Lankford, Lee)

As we move forward, HSLDA urges its members and our fellow homeschoolers to call or email the senators who opposed John King’s confirmation and thank them for standing against President Obama’s harmful nominee. We will continue to fight for homeschool freedom, no matter who the Secretary of Education is—but it is important to thank these senators for standing with us on this vote.

Here are the senators who voted no on John King’s confirmation. Click here for their official email addresses and other contact information.

Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Capito (R-WV)
Coats (R-IN)
Corker (R-TN)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Daines (R-MT)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Gardner (R-CO)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (R-WI)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Perdue (R-GA)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rounds (R-SD)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)