Trump's education secretary appeared to get stumped on a key question during her confirmation hearing

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Betsy DeVos

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Betsy DeVos testifies before the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee confirmation hearing to be next Secretary of Education on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2017.

Betsy DeVos, the woman President-elect Donald Trump chose to lead the US Department of Education, sparred with some lawmakers during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

At one point, DeVos appeared to get stuck on a question asked by Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota.

Franken asked DeVos to clarify her position on measuring student progress – specifically, the debate between proficiency versus growth.

DeVos asked for clarification after first conflating the meanings of the two concepts.

“This is a subject that has been debated in the education community for years,” Franken told DeVos. “It surprises me that you don’t know this issue.”

Franken then turned to committee chairman Lamar Alexander and said, “Mr. Chairman, I think this is a good reason for us to have more questions.”

Watch DeVos’ exchange with Sen. Franken here:

On a question about guns on school campuses, DeVos gave an answer that generated considerable conversation on social media.

After suggesting gun rules should be left up to local and state lawmakers, DeVos offered that schools in some areas may need a gun on campus to protect from grizzly bears.

Watch DeVos answer the gun question here:

DeVos was grilled by several lawmakers on the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pension Committee on Tuesday. During the hearing, she vowed not to undo public education in the US.

DeVos’ critics have said some of her policies would hurt schools and students. Her supporters have said DeVos has the leadership capacity to revive the US education system.

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