By Alexandra Rosenmann / AlterNet

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos faced scrutiny from both sides of the aisle before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, weakly defending a variety of proposed rollbacks from student loans to civil rights protections in the Trump administration’s latest budget proposal.

DeVos has developed a penchant for evading difficult questions, and Tuesday’s hearing was no exception. Here are 20 questions she flagrantly dodged from 13 Republicans and Democrats.

Roy Blunt (R-MO)

1. “On May 19, the Department of Education put out a new proposal where there would be only one principle [loan] servicer. I’m inclined to think that is not the best direction to go. Why did you make that decision as opposed to letting the department, as it had been doing, allocate loans to servicers who are having the best experience and the best results?”

Patty Murray (D-WA)

2. “Your budget proposed a cut of $578 million in this funding for districts that don’t adopt your proposed policies… Are you aware your budget would result in these cuts?”

3. “What do you tell Republicans who feel strongly that the federal government shouldn’t use federal education dollars to bend states and school districts to their will?”

4. “Given that agencies certainly have the option to respond to inquiries and be transparent above and beyond what President Trump’s White House is saying, do you plan to respond to inquiries from Democrats, or just ignore them and only respond to Republicans?”

Dick Durbin (D-IL)

5. “Whether it’s a question of gainful employment so the students don’t get so deeply in debt, they don’t have a chance to pay back their student loans. The defrauding of students by these schools [has] been shown over and over again. The question is, what are you going to do about this?”

Richard Shelby (R-AL)

6. “How does the Department of Education expect to be able to continue to effectively meet the needs of our state, all of our states, if you are going to cut the programs (such as technical education) rather than improve them?”

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

7. “What should you say to Raymond and other [poor] students who will no longer have a place to go after school, who are going to go home without supervision, where they can get into trouble because their parents aren’t going to be home, who are not going to have the homework assistance, who are not going to have the help they need to succeed in school?”

Brian Schatz (D-HI)

8. “How are we going to come up with $9 billion [for programs cut], or do you think there should be $9 billion less spent in education overall?”

9. “Do you include the cut of 40,000 teachers federally funded in that category called duplicative (or ineffective) or could be supported by some other entity?”

Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

10. “Are you saying that if you have a private school, [since] private schools generally set their own admission policies, they will not be able to discriminate against LGBTQ students?”

11. “You cut in half the federal work study program. Why not encourage students to be able to hold a job in college and reduce their debt, rather than making them have higher debt?”

Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

12. “Last week, you testified in the house that you were going to have a willingness to review these rejected [Upward Bound, West Virginia State University] applications, and I am asking you for the same commitment today, and if you have been doing that?”

Joe Manchin (D-WV)

13. “Is there any flexibility that you have that we could work to help some of the schools, programs that were cut through the money that they are not going to be asking from you for choice?”

John Neely Kennedy (R-LA)

14. “What percentage of the elected officials in America that give advice about elementary and secondary public education do you think really know what is like to be in a classroom?”

15. “Would you support a bill that said that any elected official… that makes policy for elementary and secondary education should be required to substitute teach in a public school at least once a year?”

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

16. “How would $20 million for competitive grants make up for or replace the more than $1.5 billion in formula funding for programs that could support career and technical education and STEM education efforts in every state?

17. “How do these truly draconian cuts reflect anything other than an effort to push college further out of reach to more and more young people?

Marco Rubio (R-FL)

18. “In a country that has become so diverse and so different geographically, and along so many different lines, how does this budget account for that in terms of the federal role in incentivizing competition and innovation, while still understanding [how] to address some of the basic things in the school system? If a kid doesn’t have access to wi-fi nowadays, they are going to struggle to be able to complete homework.”

Chris Murphy (D-CT)

19. “Does your proposal require any of these [charter school] companies to disclose their profits?”

20. “What protections—specific protections—will be in your program to make sure that taxpayer dollars don’t just end up enriching the pockets of the folks that own these companies?”

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig