Local school official reacts to the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearing

Local school official reacts to the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearing

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Though he admits he was concerned with some of the things Betsy DeVos said, Horry County School Board Chairman Joe Defeo said he is not worried about those responses taking a toll on local public school systems.

DeVos is President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Education. Her confirmation hearing took place on Tuesday.

"As long as the administration continues the idea and the thought that the local people - the people in Horry County - can elect a school board, and that school board has more power to implement what the local people want, then we will be fine and far better than we were in the past," Defeo said.

At times during the confirmation hearing, DeVos did not answer questions directly.

More than one person said she did not have the experience to answer them. While that may be alarming to some, Defeo was not among them.

"I don't see the secretary of education - and this will sound a little bit crazy - necessarily has to be an educator," he said. "They are not an educator. As far as her background and qualifications, they are not a teacher in the classroom. What you're doing is running a business at that point."

However, that does not mean Defeo did not have his concerns following Tuesday's hearing.

"Well yeah, what I find alarming is that when Trump ran for president, he said we have to put the power in the local school boards, and that's what I believe whether I'm on the school board or not," he said. "And we don't need the federal government telling us how to run the schools. So she came across, to me, too controlling in comparison to what Trump had talked about."

Still, at the end of the day, Defeo has faith in the local school systems, whether they be charter or public schools.

"The only place that education takes place is in the classroom," he said. "It doesn't take place anywhere else. Not even the principal directly educates. School board member, I don't educate anybody. All I can do is help implement the learning in the classroom and that's it."

Defeo asked that parents keep faith in the local school system, whether DeVos is confirmed as secretary of education, or not.

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