Since Donald Trump has threatened to do away with the Department of Education (or at least drastically reduce the size of it), one can easily see how he’d support privatizing much of the education system. That sentiment can be further enforced through today’s announcement that he has nominated Betsy DeVos to be the next Secretary of Education.
DeVos is a major Republican donor from Michigan who heads up the American Federation for Children. The group is one of the leading organizations advocating for school choice — whether that’s through charter schools, school vouchers, or various other methods that generally undermine public education.
According to the Detroit Free Press, DeVos has also spoken out against the teacher unions and is a member of organizations that support the Common Core set of educational curriculum. Furthermore, she was largely responsible for funding an “unsuccessful statewide ballot initiative to amend the state Constitution to allow tax dollars to be used for private school tuition through education vouchers” back in 2000.
It’s these policies that have caused DeVos to receive a fair amount of opposition from proponents of public education. Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association, for instance, has come out we need to have an educational system that works for all children and not be dependent on “winning a charter lottery, being accepted by a private school, or living in the right ZIP code.”
In Garcia’s opinion, “Betsy DeVos has consistently worked against these values, and her efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students.”
Stephen Dryer, an Education Policy Fellow at Innovation Ohio, also gave his voice to the opposition when he tweeted that DeVos’s nomination “is a terrible outcome for the nation’s public schools. DeVos’ group hit with biggest elections fine in OH history. $6.2 million.”
There are plenty of others who have expressed opposition to the nomination online. Some have even pointed out that since access to a strong public education system is crucial to the future of our country, this nomination could potentially be the most dangerous one Trump’s made so far.