Parents, education officials express concers over Trump's Ed. Secretary pick

President-elect Donald Trump tapped Betsy DeVos, a MI school choice advocate, billionaire philanthropist and prominent Republican donor, to head the federal Department of Education.

Betsy Devos is a controversial choice because of her work over the last couple of decades to bring vouchers and independent charter schools to MI.

Betsy DeVos is hardly a household name, but the MI billionaire and conservative activist has quietly helped change the education landscape in many states, spending millions of dollars in a successful push to expand voucher programs that give families taxpayer dollars to pay for private and religious schools.

De Vos co-produced the musical in association with her brother Dick DeVos, with whom she formed the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, which "focuses on education, community, the arts, justice, and leadership". New Orleans has been the poster child of the charter school revolution and launched Louisiana's voucher program.

"I am honored to work with the president-elect on his vision to make American education great again", DeVos, 58, tweeted after the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

DeVos, like Trump, is new to government but has spent decades working to change America's system of public education. "Emotions are raw and tensions just don't heal overnight", Trump said.

Now DeVos is poised to spread her preference for vouchers nationwide. I've talked to some Trump supporters who - at their core, they want the Common Core State Standards overturned even though this is a state-passed initiative. "She has been an excellent Governor and I wish her luck in her new role".

"The status quo in education is not acceptable", she said in a statement Wednesday.

"L.A. Unified is more committed than ever to our mission of assuring that every child receives an outstanding public education and is on a trajectory toward the graduation stage and success in life", Zimmer said.

Trump's earlier picks for top jobs had a lot in common - they were white, male and often among his earliest supporters.

She is also a declared convert against Common Core, saying the program for higher scholastic standards that made sense at first "got turned into a federalized boondoggle". DeVos and husband Dick led an unsuccessful ballot effort in 2000 to amend the MI constitution to allow vouchers for students to attend private schools using taxpayer dollars. She has fought to divert resources away from public schools into private, mostly religious institutions.

Not surprisingly, Trump's selection of DeVos as his education secretary drew swift reaction from the head of the nation's largest teachers union. "Since he is elected and appointed her I presume she will be trying to promote some of those alternative perspectives with regard to how education should be delivered".

For the Trump team, that's exactly the point.

Unity has emerged as a common theme during Trump's limited public appearances in the days since his stunning general election victory, which followed a campaign season in which he rained extraordinary personal attacks on his opponents in both parties, the media and his many Republican critics.



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