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Dec 19 2016
by Diana Pope

What You Need to Know about Trump's Pick For Secretary of Education

By Diana Pope - Dec 19 2016

This past month, Donald Trump has appointed more than a dozen new individuals to his Presidential Cabinet. For Secretary of Education, he picked Betsy DeVos to introduce radical new changes to the state of public education in this country. DeVos was a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and was one of the architects behind the Detroit Charter System. She is known for her advocacy of school choice and charter programs. 

Political Experience

In the past, DeVos served on the Foundation for Excellence in Children, a think-tank on education reform that was funded by President Bush. Her family has donated millions of dollars each year to organizations that support Christian and conservative values. Betsy and Dick DeVos come from a family that has a net worth of nearly five billion dollars. 

Why Trump Picked DeVos

Currently, DeVos works as a chair of the American Federation for Children, and she campaigns arduously to guarantee access to school choice across the country. Her group seeks to actively privatize education in the United States, and she has been a pioneer behind the spread of charter schools in Michigan. She has also persuaded lawmakers to pour money into public funds so that more Americans can have money to pay for private education in the form of vouchers. 

During his time as President, Trump aims to follow through with his campaign promises about allowing Americans to have increased freedom of school choice. With DeVos as his pick for Secretary of Education, he hopes to have a leader in the White House who will change the current direction of the education system. DeVos vows to break up the current educational standards, and bolster the amount of funding into charter schools across the country. 

Supporters of DeVos

Most Republicans and many centrist Democrats support Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Education. Former presidential candidate Jeb Bush has praised DeVos and called her an "outstanding pick." Many politicians support DeVos because she vows to change the lackluster Common Core standards and increase access to public vouchers. 

Backlash Against DeVos

However, major organizations like the National Education Association have sharply criticized Trump's pick for Secretary of Education. This widely-known group recently accused DeVos of pushing forward a "corporate agenda" in public education. Critics worry that DeVos will pull federal funds away from public education in an attempt to privatize education for a small number of Americans. 

Devos's Plan for Colleges

Right now, DeVos's plans for undergraduate institutions are unclear because she does not have a substantial background in higher education. Peter McPherson (President of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities) is familiar with the DeVos family and has stated that his  assumption is that "those themes of interest in opportunity and accountability would be a major interest of hers in higher education."

Trump's pick for Secretary of Education indicates that the White House will have a completely new change concerning the state of public education in the country; no other pick for Secretary of Education has focused so much on the privatization of education before. It will be interesting to witness how DeVos will carry out her goals for public charters and school choice in the United States. 

Lead Image Credit: MLive via Youtube

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Diana Pope - University of Tennessee Knoxville

Diana is a political science major who also enjoys journalism, history, and philosophy. She loves writing, researching, and debating about politics. In her free time, she enjoys Grey's anatomy marathons and reading detective fiction.

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