Just When You Learn Rhee Won't be Secretary of Ed, Trump Goes One Worse
Trump has selected Betsy DeVos of Michigan as his pick for the next Secretary of Education. Who is she? Well, for one, not an educator.
But DeVos, a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, represents the most conservative corner of the movement. She and her husband have funded a series of efforts to turn public school funding into vouchers for students to attend private schools. They have also fought to prevent charter schools, including for-profit charter schools, from being more tightly regulated.
The DeVos appointment signals that Trump is serious about the $20 billion school voucher plan he rolled out on the campaign trail. The proposal would redirect huge swaths of the federal education budget away from school districts and toward low-income parents, allowing them to spend a voucher at a public or private school of their choice, potentially including for-profit, virtual, and religious schools.From The Atlantic, Five Things to Know About Betsy DeVos, Trump's Pick for Education Secretary:
DeVos will push for school choice. DeVos, who heads up the pro-charter and pro-school-voucher nonprofit American Federation for Children, has said parents should have the ability to choose the best schools for their children, whether they are traditional public schools, charters, or private schools. Trump has proposed creating a $20 billion federal voucher program for families to use to send their kids to the school of their choice. But, as Education Week noted recently, making that program a reality could be difficult. It’s unclear exactly where the funding would come from, and even if Congress did manage to pass such a proposal, some states currently prohibit funds from going to schools with religious affiliations, which could complicate how those funds are used.
Critics of the Common Core standards may have reason to worry. While Trump repeatedly assailed the set of standards used in most states across the country, DeVos has been less clear about her stance on them.
Expect deregulation to be a priority. According to Chalkbeat, DeVos’s family poured $1.45 million into an effort to prevent Michigan from adding oversight for charter schools. That effort ultimately failed. DeVos and her husband have been supporters of charter schools for decades and longtime opponents of regulation.
She’s politically active, but she doesn’t have a lot of political experience.DeVos, 58, is married to Dick DeVos, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the governorship in Michigan. He is the former president of Amway, which his father co-founded, and of the Orlando Magic NBA team. Her brother, Erik Prince, founded Blackwater, the controversial security firm. The family has given to a number of conservative and Christian organizations. While Betsy DeVos has served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, much of her work has been at the state level, and she will now have to, as Chalkbeat wrote, “operate within a complicated web of interests and priorities, including with education officials in states that did not support Trump.” Her ability to navigate Washington is largely untested.
The reaction to her nomination is mixed.
DeVos’s selection as education secretary will please Republicans like Senator Lamar Alexander, who heads up the Senate’s education committee.
But teachers’ unions see her support of charter schools and vouchers as an affront to public education, something Randi Weingarten, the head of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ Seattle Schools Community Forum: Just When You Learn Rhee Won't be Secretary of Ed, Trump Goes One Worse: