New Secretary of Education worries local education officials

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“I don’t think she is committed to public schools,” said John B. Deiter, the Dewitt School District Superintendent. “Her agenda in the past has been to promote vouchers where money follows students to schools of their parent’s choice.”

Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the Secretary of Education after a 51-50 vote on the Senate floor. The DeVos nomination sparked controversy because of her career of fighting for charter schools, private schools and religious schools.

DeVos vote

Democratic senators argue that the only reason she was nominated is because of her family history of donating to the Republican Party and note that she has no experience as an educator, administrator, or even as a parent or student in public education.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence in her ability to lead the department,” said Deiter. “In her confirmation hearing she showed that she lacks very basic knowledge of key concepts in education.”

Don Wotruba, who is the Executive Director at the Michigan Association of School Boards, believes that DeVos has the ability to do the job, but it will be challenging for her.

“She’ll have a hard time being successful because she has no ties to public education,”  Wotruba said.

But Wotruba also said she is in a position to prove her commitment to public schools.

“She’s going to have to implement policies that benefit all forms of education, not just the alternative forms,” said Wotruba.

For Catherine Ash, the Okemos School District Superintendent, the knowledge DeVos will obtain as the Secretary of Education can allow her to succeed.

“She has to go out of her way to be a learner,” said Ash. “She needs to get a grasp of laws and policies that are in place, and if she is open to that, we need to support her.”

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