Trump To Name Betsy DeVos, School Vouchers Champion, Education Secretary

Aude Guerrucci/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

President-elect Donald Trump will name Betsy DeVos, Michigan-based Republican donor and a prominent supporter of school vouchers, as his secretary of education, the transition team announced Wednesday.

“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said in a statement. “Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families. I am pleased to nominate Betsy as Secretary of the Department of Education.”

The statement said that DeVos had accepted the position.

“I am honored to accept this responsibility to work with the President-elect on his vision to make American education great again,” DeVos said. “The status quo in education is not acceptable. Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.”

DeVos is known both for her philanthropy and her involvement in Republican politics, particularly on education policy. She backed a failed 2000 Michigan ballot measure to expand school vouchers in the state. Afterwards, she and her husband founded American Federation for Children, a political action committee that supported candidates in favor of expanding charter schools and school vouchers.

The DeVos’ fortune stems from the businesses of the father of Betsy’s husband, Dick DeVos, according to a 2014 Mother Jones profile of the couple. Her father Edgar Prince founded the social conservative group the Family Research Council and her brother is Erik Prince, founder of the the security firm Blackwater.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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