Betsy DeVos is the new United States Secretary of Education for the Trump Administration. Also, Betsy DeVos and her husband served as the Republican Party’s largest sponsor in Michigan, funding many candidates and at the same time promoting their school reform agenda. Donald Trump’s appointment of the wealthy 59-year-old Betsy DeVos as secretary of education crystallized a direction that has been clear since his announcement on November 23.
Questioned by a Democratic senator at her hearing, Betsy DeVos, who was president of the Republican Party in Michigan, stated that she was in favor of vouchers. Vouchers are distributed by the state so that children can attend private schools. The announcement of Betsy DeVos’s appointment on November 23, therefore, worried the Democratic camp and the unions. Remember, the Secretary of Education oversees an annual budget of 68 billion dollars and guarantees the application of federal laws.
Forbes magazine’s 2016 ranking of the most massive U.S. fortunes stated that Betsy DeVos and her husband have an estimated wealth of nearly $5.4 billion, and this places them as having the 88th largest fortune in the USA. Betsy DeVos also supports the home education movement, preferred by many Christian conservatives to secular education. The billionaire also defends the voucher system. These education vouchers are distributed to parents so that they can send their children to a private school.
Her plan involves reforming the public school system for the benefit of private schools. Betsy DeVos also defends the private education system, where she completed all her schooling, details the New Yorker. For the first time in history, and as the Constitution allows in the event of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence acted as a tiebreaker when it came time to cast the decisive vote confirming her appointment as the United States Secretary of Education.
During her confirmation hearing before the Senate, when asked about weapons at school, she cited the example of a rural school that needed firearms to protect itself from potential wild animals. Also, Trump wouldn’t have appointed this woman to this position if he didn’t intend to do something radical to change the educational system in the United States. Another controversial point: her role within the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, created by her parents.
However, for the detractors of the present public U.S. educational system, this appointment signals a change which may help to repair a public education system that is already less efficient than those of other Western countries. Trump’s choice was only approved with the vote of vice president Mike Pence, who had to break the tie-breaker for the first time in American history. Private education should be, according to her, provided in “charter schools,” private schools with public funding practically independent of the government.
Also, we should remember that as the Secretary of Education she will oversee an annual budget of $68 billion and she will also be in charge of the agency that guarantees the application of federal laws. She will also control a multi-billion dollar fund for student loans and grants.
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