Dear Commons Community,
Reuters and other news media are announcing that President-elect Donald Trump is set to nominate Betsy DeVos, a billionaire and school choice advocate, as his secretary of education.
“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said in a statement earlier today. “Under her leadership, we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”
DeVos is the former chair of the Michigan Republican Party.
She and her husband, Dick DeVos — who together were worth more than $5 billion in 2012, according to Reuters — have funded initiatives to push for school voucher programs.
DeVos is Chair of the American Federation for Children, which describes itself as “a leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocating for school vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs.” It is affiliated with the Alliance for School Choice. Launched in 2010, it operates regional offices across the country. According to one source, it “has racked up a series of successes by spending almost no money nationally, concentrating instead on the states, where media campaigns are cheaper and more manageable, and disclosure requirements are often far less stringent….For example, the federation has provided grants to the School Choice Indiana Network, Boast Alliance Maryland, and Partners for Educational Freedom in North Carolina.” Among its successes are a Georgia law “reinstating a commission that authorized charter schools,” a Florida committee whose attacks on Democratic attorney general candidate Dan Gelber resulted in his election loss, legislation in Virginia “calling for scholarship tax credits, ” and legislation in Wisconsin that created “a voucher program for children with special needs.”
“The status quo in education is not acceptable,” DeVos said in a statement. “Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.”