By Steve Buckstein

Opponents of Betsy DeVos tried everything they could to keep her from becoming U.S. Secretary of Education. In the end, she was approved by the Senate on Tuesday with Vice President Pence breaking a 50-50 tie vote.

In addition to arguments that she is wealthy (which she is) and that she never attended public schools (which she didn’t), opponents feigned shock that she had the temerity to argue that educating children takes precedence over protecting and funding public schools that may not meet their needs.

Perhaps her opponents’ biggest error is thinking that private schools are not providing “public education.” But they are. Many Americans recognize that meeting the educational needs of children trumps meeting the financial needs of the adults who work in public school buildings.

Public education means educating the public—or it should. Students don’t suddenly stop being part of the public just because their parents believe they will be better educated in other than their local public school building.

Betsy DeVos believes that public funding of education shouldn’t be limited to schools dominated by public teachers unions. She may not be a friend of those unions, but she is a friend of children who may need those funds to help them learn somewhere else. She has, and will advocate for school choice programs including charters, vouchers, and Education Savings Accounts that allow those children to take their public education funds to the schools they and their families—not the government—choose.


Steve Buckstein is Founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

3 thoughts on “Parental Choice Champion Betsy DeVos Confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Education

  1. We can wish her well, but President Trump’s support of the whole idea of school choice seems a bit wishy-washy. It wasn’t a campaign highlight like protectionism was and is. Yes, he has mentioned something about more choice being a desirable thing, but his policy and economic outlook is generally shallow, contradictory, and ill-informed. He is also consuming precious political capital at a rapid rate with unpopular immigration restrictions, and he is getting bogged down articulating a genuine, free-market replacement for Obamacare. If change is to come to education, it has to move quickly during the honeymoon period, if, indeed, President Trump even gets to enjoy a honeymoon.

  2. Frankly, I do no understand how a person watching her confirmation hearing could believe she was qualified for the job. . If she were a candidate for the Federal Reserve Board and showed her same level of ignorance about banking, she’d be laughed out of the interview.

  3. The lack of urgency or even the willingness to address the abject failure of our present so called public education system calls for fresh and innovative ideas such as those from someone outside this failed system – enter Betsy DeVos. We’ve tried ramming politically correct progressive subject matter into young skulls to the point that boys and girls are confused about their goals (as I believe the administrators are as well), their heritage and even their gender. What silliness ! Get back to basics without agenda driven overtones and treat students as children not beings capable of making phony decisions pushed on them by the factory school zealots. Hopefully her first action is to find a way to delegitimizatize the teacher unions and yank them out by their roots. Nothing has been as hurtful to our children as these self glorifying unions and their more radical members whose interest is diverted away from educating to political posturing and subversive behavior. Furthermore, schools/teachers have no right to displace parental guidelines in regard to morality, religion, public figures, and political leanings. Butt out with your personal agendas and help the youngsters to get a solid academic experience.

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