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Mark Pocan creates public education-focused caucus to oppose Betsy DeVos

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U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan has created a House Public Education Caucus to oppose President elect-Donald Trump's Education Secretary pick Betsy DeVos, a longtime supporter of school vouchers. 

Rep. Mark Pocan has created a public education-focused caucus to oppose President elect-Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Education. 

Pocan, D-Black Earth, announced the creation of the House Public Education Caucus on Tuesday, alongside national teachers unions presidents Lily Eskelsen Garcia of the National Education Association and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, and other Democratic members of the U.S. House. 

"Mark feels like people in Wisconsin, where the K-12 voucher experiment was tested, need to be talking about the impact it has had on public schools, teachers, teacher retirements/shortage and education in general," said spokeswoman Melanie Conklin in an email. 

Trump's nominee to head the federal department of education is Betsy DeVos, chairwoman of the pro-school voucher group American Federation for Children and a big donor to Gov. Scott Walker, who has significantly expanded school vouchers in Wisconsin since he was first elected in 2010. 

Betsy DeVos and husband Dick have contributed more than $340,000 to Walker in recent years, according to state campaign finance records.

A confirmation hearing with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is set for Jan. 17.

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In a statement released Sunday, Pocan lists several reasons for skipping the event, such as President-elect Donald Trump's "handling of his conflicts of interests," briefings on alleged Russian hacking during the election and Trump's recent comments about Rep. John Lewis.

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