Betsy DeVos has used her fortune and her influence to promote public funding for charter schools and school vouchers for many years.
And now she is Donald Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary.
As the Education Secretary many expect DeVos will encourage distribution of more vouchers and development of more charter schools. Some fear money diverted from public schools will negatively affect the education of many children.
“She will support vouchers and support charters,” says Mary Bouwense, president of the Grand Rapids Teachers Association. “And we know from history that a lot of children get left behind and they don't end up with a quality education because the finances get funneled into for profit businesses.”
“It will probably be part of her agenda because that was part of the agenda Donald Trump campaigned on,” points out retired Calvin College political science professor Corwin Smidt. “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.”
Everyone may not agree with her views, but Professor Smidt says he is confident the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate will confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. He says it will put a west Michigan native in one of the nation’s most important jobs.
“And I don’t think that can hurt,” he says with a laugh. “I don’t know what, but I think it will have some benefits. Regardless of how you might view her policies it’s still, in some ways, an honor to have someone from our community involved at that high level of office.”