Top GOP donor and charter schools advocate Betsy DeVos is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Education.
DeVos is married to Dick DeVos, the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos who unsuccessfully ran for governor of Michigan in 2006. Her brother is Erik Prince, founder of the security contractor Blackwater.
She is a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and is chairwoman of the Windquest Group, which invests in technology and clean energy. She also leads the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation and the American Federation for Children, which promotes school choice and vouchers.
“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said in a statement. “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. I am pleased to nominate Betsy as Secretary of the Department of Education.”
In a statement issued by the Trump transition team, DeVos said she would be working with Trump “to make American education great again.”
“The status quo in education is not acceptable,” DeVos said. “Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.”
On her website, DeVos explains she is “not a supporter” of Common Core, “period.”
“I do support high standards, strong accountability, and local control. When Governors such as John Engler, Mike Huckabee, and Mike Pence were driving the conversation on voluntary high standards driven by local voices, it all made sense,” she wrote. “Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position. Sometimes it’s not just students who need to do their homework. However, along the way, it got turned into a federalized boondoggle.”
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called DeVos “an excellent choice” for the post.
“The Senate’s education committee will move swiftly in January to consider her nomination,” Alexander said. “Betsy has worked for years to improve educational opportunities for all children. As secretary, she will be able to implement the new law fixing No Child Left Behind just as Congress wrote it, reversing the trend to a national school board and restoring to states, governors, school boards, teachers, and parents greater responsibility for improving education in their local communities.”
“I also look forward to working with her on the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, giving us an opportunity to clear out the jungle of red tape that makes it more difficult for students to obtain financial aid and for administrators to manage America’s 6000 colleges and universities.”
Progress Michigan slammed the selection of the state’s native daughter, saying it “proves that having a shortage of experience means nothing as long you don’t have a shortage of money.”
“The DeVos family has been using their deep pockets to influence the Michigan legislature for years and it looks like they have finally bought their way into a presidential administration as well,” Progress Michigan executive director Lonnie Scott said. “The DeVos family education plan has been a disaster for Michigan and we are truly saddened that Trump decided to import their failed ideas to Washington D.C.”