Betsy DaVos for Education Secretary: President-Elect Trump Picks Billionaire Power Broker for Cabinet PostBy Beth Golden, UniversityHerald Reporter
Betsy DaVos, 58, served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party with much of her work at the state level. Her husband, Dick DaVos, is former president of Amway and co-founder of Windquest Group, a company that invests in tech and manufacturing, ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of Michigan. Her brother Erik Prince is founder of the controversial security firm Blackwater.
Ms. DaVos is a patron of the arts and supports a number of conservative and Christian organizations. She is also chairman of the American Federation of Children and its associated 527 action fund. The Federation was an effective platform that Betsy DaVos used to promote voucher advocacy, it supported candidates that promotes vouchers and charter schools.
While she may not be popular, Betsy DaVos and her family has spent a fortune promoting voucher education and has helped reshape the educational landscape with 400,000 children attending private schools with the help of tax dollars.
The cabinet nominee wants to give parents choices with their children's education by giving them access to charter and private schools through voucher and derivative programs. Saying all student should have the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potentials.
Her nomination however was received with mixed reactions. Some say that her appointment means a breakaway from the usual. Others say that she has no experience in Washington politics and she definitely has no meaningful background in the classrooms or public schools.
Teachers' unions have also been highly critical of her nomination saying it was "a catastrophic attack on public education". While her stance on the Common Core Standards remain unclear, it is obvious that her appointment could spell drastic changes in the public education system.
The effectiveness of voucher programs show mixed results on students in terms of school performance and pursuing higher education.
The issue remains polarizing since pouring money to these programs will take away much needed resources from public schools to fund education of students in private schools which remains unaccountable.
Whether or not the president-elect's plan to pooling $20 billion to expand voucher grants will materialize, public schools still have reasons to be wary.