DeVos vouchers

Here’s what you need to know about Betsy DeVos, likely Education Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump's nomination for Education Secretary has sparked enthusiasm from school choice groups, but outrage from those who view public schools as a U.S. institution.

Educator and stakeholder reaction was swift. Below are 5 reactions to the DeVos nomination [Give us your reactions in the comment section below!].

1. DeVos “has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers — which take away funding and local control from our public schools — to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense. These schemes do nothing to help our most-vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps. She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education. By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities,” said Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association.

2. The Wall Street Journal said DeVos is “well positioned” to reform the Education Department and promote school choice, noting her experience with “hand-to-hand political combat in state legislative races against the teachers unions.”

3. Jim DeMint, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said in a statement that DeVos is “a staunch supporter of more education choices for students and parents, and the school choice movement will have a champion in the Education Department…The next Secretary should re-evaluate existing federal education programs, work to downsize the agency, promote where appropriate efforts for more choice, and give states more flexibility with existing federal funds to better serve students.”

4. The New York Times said it is uncertain how students will fare. The Times called her nomination a probable “loss for students,” noting that, while the state of Detroit’s school system is not entirely her fault, she is usually viewed as the major impetus behind the state’s school restructuring. In Detroit, the current lack of oversight means failing charter schools are still able to enroll students.

5. “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT. “DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan. Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless and extreme ideology on the nation.”

Laura Ascione

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