It’s official. Betsy DeVos is the new education secretary after Vice President Mike Pence broke the historical tie today in the senate. DeVos was selected after much opposition from the public and the Democratic party, though there were a few Republicans who also voted against the nomination. For the first time in history, a VP broke a 50-50 tie for a cabinet member nomination.
So what is there to know about Betsy DeVos? Here are seven things you should know about the latest secretary of education.
1. She believes education should put children first.
Devos is a strong believer that children K-12 should have a quality education. She believes that options of education shouldn’t be limited based on a family’s zip code or the circumstances of the family.
2. She is anti-common core.
The common core is an outline that every public school in the US follows for math and English. DeVos is not shy about her feelings towards this curriculum, issuing a statement after news outlets stated they were unclear on her stance. DeVos did say though that she does “support high standards, strong accountability, and local control.”
3. She has prior political experience.
Prior to her nomination, DeVos was a major member of the Republican Party in her home state of Michigan. She was a Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan between 1992 and 1997, and served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000. She was reelected in 2003 without opposition.
4. She hasn’t made a clear stance on the Title IX Act.
DeVos has not made a statement on whether or not the federal government will continue resources to colleges in regards to sexual assault, as stated in the Title Nine act. This caused an uproar on social media, as many feel that if federal funding is cut, the steps made by the Obama administration to assist victims of sexual assault will falter.
5. She is going to follow federal law for special education.
After telling the senators at her confirmation hearing that she think’s it should be up to the states whether schools follow federal law, DeVos sent out a letter a week later saying she misspoke. DeVos firmly confirmed that she will in fact enforce the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, despite what she previously claimed.
6. She is pro-voucher.
An education voucher lets parents apply money that would normally go to supporting the local public school to a private or religious school. This voucher is used if the family requesting it lives in an area with a poor public school system or if they would rather their child got a different kind of education than what the public school offers. Vouchers are a hot topic of debate because many believe that their tax dollars shouldn’t be going to private educations while others think that everyone should be able to choose which education they receive.
7. She thinks that public and charter schooling should be held to different standards.
The board of education for charters schools is often made up of benefactors and parents, while public school boards are made up of elected officials. Charter school teachers are also not unionized while those who work in a public system are. There are systematic differences between the two but the quality of education, in my opinion, should remain the same no matter what.