On Wednesday, President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced his choice for secretary of education: Betsy DeVos, a Republican philanthropist and activist, CNN reports.
“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday. “Under her leadership, we will reform the US education system…so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”
However, Trump’s choice is already facing bipartisan opposition. While Trump has spoken out against the Common Core, DeVos has worked with foundations that support charter schools, school choice and the Common Core. The largest teacher’s union in the country has already attacked DeVos for her support of charter schools and school voucher programs, and conservatives have already pointed to her association with groups that support the Common Core. For her part, DeVos was quick to try to douse those flames, tweeting out:
Many of you are asking about Common Core. To clarify, I am not a supporter—period. Read my full stance, here: https://t.co/qB2nAXvX0B
— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVos) November 23, 2016
“Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core?” she asked. “Of course. But that’s not my position.”
According to USA Today, education groups that oppose charter schools are also opposing the choice, saying that DeVos’ plans will undercut public schools.
“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,” Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, told USA Today. “We have, and will continue, to fight for all students to have a great public school in their community and the opportunity to succeed no matter their backgrounds or circumstances.”
Jeb Bush, whom DeVos originally supported in the primaries, claims that she has an allegiance to those families, though. “Particularly those struggling at the bottom of the economic ladder,” he said. Her allegiance is “not to an outdated public education model that has failed them from one generation to the next.”
NPR points out that DeVos is a billionaire who’s never taught in a classroom and doesn’t have experience with public education. In Michigan, she pushed to create a voucher system so that students could attend private schools. The bill ultimately failed, but it shows that DeVos is a strong advocate for these controversial measures. Public school advocates often fight voucher programs and charter schools, because they move students to private schools instead of trying to improve public schools for all children.
So this was a controversial choice. Let’s be honest, though. What about this election process has not been considered controversial?