Politics

Trump Picks School-Choice Advocate for Education Post

Betsy DeVos tapped to deliver on campaign pledge to reform education in America's inner cities

President-Elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos of Michigan to be secretary of the Department of Education.

The West Michigan resident is former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and a big Republican donor. She is married to Dick DeVos, the son of the founder of Amway.

“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.”

Betsy DeVos, a major philanthropist, has been involved as an advocate for school choice for years.

DeVos, 58, is chairwoman of the American Federation for Children. The organization describes itself as the “leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocating for school vouchers, scholarship tax credit programs and Education Savings Accounts.”

DeVos met with Trump on Saturday at his New Jersey golf club.

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After Washington, D.C., educator Michelle Rhee took herself out of the running, DeVos became the front-runner choice to head the cabinet-level department.

“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”

Common Core was a murky area for DeVos ahead of the announcement of her selection. The Detroit News reported some of the groups that DeVos is affiliated with have expressed support for the controversial set of national standards Trump has railed against on the campaign trail.

But Devos clarified her position quickly.

“I am not a supporter — period,” DeVos posted to her own website Wednesday. “Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position.”

As a charter-school advocate, Betsy DeVos will be tasked with delivering on Trump’s promise to bring school choice to America’s inner cities.

Charter schools are opposed by teachers’ unions, as they allow privately run schools to receive tax dollars for operations.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect Betsy DeVos’ clarified public position on Common Core standards.

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Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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