President-elect Donald J. Trump says he will nominate Betsy DeVos as U.S. Education Secretary.
In announcing the nomination, Trump described DeVos, 58, a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, as a leader in the national school reform movement and an education advocate, businesswoman, and philanthropist.
“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” says Trump. “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.”
Trump's transition team says DeVos has spent decades advocating for school choice reforms and helping underserved children gain access to quality education. (More on DeVos.)
She is chairman of the American Federation for Children, whose mission is to “improve our nation’s K-12 education by advancing systemic and sustainable public policy that empowers parents, particularly those in low-income families, to choose the education they determine is best for their children.”
“I am honored to accept this responsibility to work with the President-elect on his vision to make American education great again,” DeVos says. “The status quo in education is not acceptable. Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.”
Politico reports that DeVos is part of a wealthy family of Republican donors who held back their donations for much of Trump’s campaign. She is married to Dick DeVos, an unsuccessful GOP candidate for governor of Michigan and former president of Amway.
The National Education Association characterized DeVos as anti-public education and condemned her proposed nomination.
"We believe that the chance for the success of a child should not depend on winning a charter lottery, being accepted by a private school, or living in the right ZIP code," says NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia. “Betsy DeVos has consistently worked against these values, and her efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students.
"She 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."