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A New Direction for Education?

Julian Maceira, Staff Writer

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Now that the emotional reaction surrounding the Presidential election has waned, the eyes of the nation have turned to President-elect Donald Trump, who is currently in the process of finalizing his new presidential cabinet as a part of the peaceful transition of power with President Obama’s White House team. Lots of rumors have been circulating about who is going to be in the cabinet; some of them more plausible than others. One of the most recently confirmed picks was that of billionaire Betsy DeVos for the Secretary of Education. What could this mean for public education in the United States?

Interestingly enough, some research reveals that Betsy DeVos hasn’t had traditional experience with the public school system. She never worked in one, never sent her children to one, and never received an academic degree related to education. What she has had experience in, is business and politics. She was involved in key roles with Michigan Republican party from 1992 to 2000. After resigning, she became active again in politics when she became the finance chairman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, serving two years.

Her newly announced position as Secretary of Education has been polarizing. Conservative school choice advocates praised the pick and called it “outstanding”. Betsy DeVos has always been an advocate for vouchers and charter schools, promising “school choice”, which is great for Trump, who’s talked about breaking apart what he calls the “government-run monopoly”. However, there’s been a negative reaction from those on the opposite of the political spectrum. Many are accusing her of wanting to steer money away from public education, with this fear stemming from several comments Donald Trump has made about “failing government schools”. The President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, has called DeVos “the most ideological, anti-public education nominee”. Why is Weingarten convinced that DeVos will put her out of a job?

Back in August, Trump said during a speech in Florida that, “We want to bring education local, so we’re going to be cutting the Department of Education big league.” The President-elect believes that education should be managed at a local level, and only time will tell whether that will have a positive or negative effect on education for the American children of tomorrow.

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A New Direction for Education?