She’s married to the man whose family started Amway. Her brother helped found Blackwater. Now, she could be the Secretary of Education under the new president.
While the country recovered from their Thanksgiving feast, President-elect Donald Trump picked Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education nominee for his cabinet. DeVos is the chairman of the American Federation for Children, a pro-school choice/pro-charter school organization.
Back in 2000, DeVos and her husband, Dick, (both huge Republican Party donors) petitioned to institute a voucher system in the state of Michigan that would allow parents to use public money to send their kids to private institutions. It failed, but President-elect Trump’s education agenda is similar in nature. Trump wants the government to spend $20 billion that’s currently spent elsewhere and wants states to contribute $12,000 in private school tuition for every child in a high-poverty area.
DeVos has also donated money to a place called the Acton Institute, an organization that desires to “promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.” A blog on the institute’s website, written a week before Election Day, advocates for the abolition of child labor laws. In the post, titled “Work is a gift our kids can handle,” writer Joseph Sunde referenced a recent Washington Post photo montage of child laborers in the 1900s and said, “The photos surely point to times of extreme lack of stress and pain. But as Jeffrey Tucker rightly detects, they also represent the faces of those who are actively building enterprises and cities, using their gifts to serve their communities and setting the foundation of a flourishing nation, in turn.”
DeVos’ background is controversial and alarming to many, but according to the head of a Michigan charter school organization, she’s the perfect pick for Trump.
“This is a great day for Michigan, and it’s an especially great day for the nation’s children,” stated Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. “Betsy DeVos has been a champion for school children for decades, always putting their needs ahead of everything else. Betsy has been on the front lines of education policy in Michigan and nationally for almost 30 years, and President-elect Trump couldn’t have selected a better advocate for children. This was an inspired choice, and we’re confident that Betsy DeVos will do a superb job as the next U.S. Secretary of Education.”
Not everyone is on board, however. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said in a statement that DeVos’ presence in Washington would be a danger to public education.
“In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America,” stated Weingarten. “DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan.”
Weingarten continued, “Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless and extreme ideology on the nation.”
Weingarten also hopes that citizens realize Trump’s actions don’t gel with his rhetoric to clean up Washington.
“Betsy DeVos is everything Donald Trump said is wrong in America—an ultra-wealthy heiress who uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda that is opposed by the majority of voters,” said Weingarten in a statement. “Installing her in the Department of Education is the opposite of Trump’s promise to drain the swamp.”