Continuing his announcements of cabinet appointees, Donald Trump said he is nominating Betsy DeVos for Education secretary - a billionaire GOP donor, she also once served as head of the Michigan Republican Party. In a statement Wednesday, Trump called DeVos a "brilliant and passionate education advocate."
“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. I am pleased to nominate Betsy as Secretary of the Department of Education," Trump said.
She is the current chairwoman of the American Federation for Children, an education advocacy group pushing school choice policies.
DeVos said she was "honored" and vowed to work with the president-elect on his "vision to make American education great again." She said in a statement that “the status quo in education is not acceptable" and added that "together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.
DeVos could face scrutiny from conservatives over her past support for Common Core educational standards.
DeVos is a vocal advocate of school choice and vouchers to allow parents to send their children to alternative schools. Clearly, those policies are strongly opposed by teachers unions, and as the president of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, tweeted, "nominating Betsy DeVos shows just how out of touch @realdonaldtrump is with what works best for students, parents, educators & communities."
Nominating Betsy DeVos shows just how out of touch @realdonaldtrump is with what works best for students, parents, educators & communities.— Lily Eskelsen García (@Lily_NEA) November 23, 2016
DeVos originally supported the controversial standards at the state level, and funded a group, the Great Lakes Education Project, to promote them. Other notable Republicans who once backed those standards similarly changed their views, arguing that they were an example of federal overreach, including former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.). Bush faced tough questions from conservatives during his own failed presidential bid about his education policies, in particular Common Core.
On Wednesday, he also praised Trump's selection of DeVos, calling her an "outstanding pick."
"She has a long and distinguished history championing the right of all parents to choose schools that best ensure their children’s success. Her allegiance is to families, particularly those struggling at the bottom of the economic ladder, not to an outdated public education model that has failed them from one generation to the next," he said in a Facebook post.
But perhaps what is most important is that according to sources, she opposed Common Core once it became a federal standard. To be sure, she confirmed as much moments ago when in a tweet she effectively warned that the Common Core Curriculum is on its way 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