President-elect Donald Trump during his “thank you” rally in Grand Rapids, MI on Friday night introduced his pick for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. DeVos is a Michigan native, philanthropist and school choice activist, but was quiet on Common Core until she was nominated.
At the rally both Trump and DeVos pledged to end Common Core.
“America spend more in education than any country by far and yet our results are terrible,” Trump said leading up to his introduction of DeVos. “We spend more per pupil than any nation in the world by far, and you look at Sweden and Denmark and Norway and China and Japan and they are all at the top and you look at us – spending much more per pupil and we are down at the bottom. We are going to change that. We are going to reform our broken education system to put students and families first.”
“Our reform plan includes eliminating Common Core, bringing education local, and providing school choice. We want every child, every single child, low income – we don’t care where they are, where they live – every child in America to be able to attend the public, private, charter, magnet or religious school that is right for them,” Trump added.
Trump introduced DeVos to a chorus of cheers and some audible boos. DeVos at the opening of her remarks said “it is time to make education great again in this country.”
“This means putting kids first every single day,” she explained. “This means expanding choice and options to give every child the opportunity for a quality education regardless of their zip code or their family’s circumstances. This means letting states set their own high standards and finally putting an end to the federalized Common Core.”
“For me it’s simple, I trust parents and I believe in our children, but it won’t be Washington, DC that unlocks that potential. It won’t be a giant bureaucracy or a federal department. Nope. The answer isn’t bigger government. The answer is local control, it’s listening to parents, and its giving more choices,” DeVos added.
As she was sharing her experience as an education activist there was audible protesting.
“Still there are many of you here, and many in the media, the Senate and the education community who may not know me,” DeVos said as protestors grew louder and were then booed by some in the audience. “In fact there is a lot of false news out there. To you all I ask for is an open mind and the opportunity to share my heart. Together let’s make education great again.”
DeVos will likely be confirmed provided the Republican Senate caucus sticks together. Her appointment has been lauded by school choice community, Christian school leaders and numerous conservative groups. Her appointment has been opposed by teachers’ unions and some anti-Common Core activists who point to her involvement with pro-Common Core groups like the Great Lakes Education Project and Foundation for Excellence in Education on behalf of school choice.