Will Betsy DeVos Make It A Year As U.S. Education Secretary?

11/05/2017 09:21 pm ET Updated Nov 08, 2017
Mary Schwalm / Reuters

It’s a good question. Not a certainty, by any means.

But a good question.

Based upon an extensive article published on Nov. 1, 2017 in Politico, Raw Story writes that talk of a DeVos ed-sec exit is in the air:

President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is “one of the most ineffective people ever to hold the job,” say some insiders, and education officials are already starting to plan for a “post-DeVos landscape” when she is removed or steps down. … … [DeVos] wants federal tax dollars to follow those children out of the public school system. One problem with implementing her plan is that public schools receive very little of their funding from the federal government. Another is her overall unpopularity and ineffectiveness.

Continuing from the Politico article:

… DeVos today seems to be treading water. She has yet to fill senior staff positions, and it’s widely known that numerous prominent Republicans having turned down offers. … Perhaps most significant, she failed to persuade the committees of jurisdiction in Congress to approve her and the department’s budget request ... expanding DeVos’ pet cause, school choice. It amounted to an embarrassing repudiation of a president and a secretary in their first year … especially considering Republicans control both the House and Senate. … people I spoke with across the ideological spectrum said the budget defeat was illustrative of a secretary getting more than she bargained for.

Regarding DeVos’ lack of fellow Republican support for both her school voucher choice agenda and even the filling USDE positions: It seems that DeVos’ Republican-dominated Senate confirmation was little more than shallow courtesy to a controversial-yet-Republican president.

The pointed, rough assessment of DeVos as U.S. ed sec continues:

[U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) employees] were startled by DeVos’ nomination and remain uninspired by her command of internal processes. Yet the response to most questions about the department’s vitality is a collective shrug...

The Politico article adds that DeVos’ stymied influence over K12 education is offset by “significant leverage” in higher ed. However, DeVos’ popularity has not improved based upon her decision making in that arena, either.

DeVos entered her position on a Senate confirmation VP tiebreaker ― and what seems to have been (remarkably) the high point of her popularity both inside and outside of USDOE.

Whereas there is no definitive evidence of an imminent DeVos departure, I don’t see DeVos sticking it out for four years. Her pet desire is to expand school voucher choice, and her funding hands are tied more in her federal role than they ever were when she was just a private-citizen billionaire.

Modified version originally posted 11-01-17 at deutsch29.wordpress.com.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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