President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education is consistent with his pledge to be the nation’s biggest advocate for school choice. Although she is a relatively mainstream choice, incoming Secretary DeVos is sure to elicit a range of reactions from across the education sector.
At first glance, she appears to be a single-issue advocate: a staunch supporter of the entire choice spectrum, from charters and vouchers to online and homeschooling. However, her deep engagement with the Foundation for Excellence in Education suggests she may be supportive of our core principles of accountability, transparency, and higher standards. We take this as a potentially positive sign in our ongoing efforts to press for continuous improvement in the education system.
Frankly, we wish the incoming Secretary was stronger on charter school quality. This means rigorous authorizing standards, accountability on performance, and closing chronically-failing schools, charter or not. Businesses that are failing don’t stay in business; schools that persistently fail our children have no business staying open either.
Mike Petrilli has compiled an excellent list of questions to which we eagerly await answers. Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and executive editor of Education Next.
Twenty Questions for Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s New Education Secretary