ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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Last week, President-Elect Trump announced Betsy DeVos as his nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education. As a cabinet-level appointee, Mrs. DeVos will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Following the president-elect’s Inauguration in January, DeVos will first appear in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for confirmation hearings. The chairman of that committee, Senator Lamar Alexander, himself a former secretary of education, has expressed his support for the appointment. If DeVos is approved by the committee, her appointment will then move to the full Senate where she will need 51 votes for confirmation.
Mrs. DeVos’ experience in education is primarily centered on promoting pro-charter school policies. DeVos chairs the American Federation for Children (AFC), an organization that advocates for school vouchers and tax credits for charter schools. DeVos is unique from previous secretaries in that she has never held public office and has no experience as an educator.
Outside of her position at AFC, DeVos is chairman of the Windquest Group, a privately-held investment management and operating group that invests in technology, manufacturing and energy. DeVos has also been very involved in Republican politics, both as a major fundraiser and as chair of the Michigan Republican Party. In 2006, her husband unsuccessfully ran for governor.
Betsy DeVos’ husband, Dick, is heir to the Amway fortune and founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter high school on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. DeVos is a former member of the Michigan State Board of Education and has served on the Grand Valley State University Board of Control. He spearheaded a Michigan ballot initiative in 2000 to amend the state’s constitution to allow for vouchers and tax credits for private K-12 education.
Next Congress, all indications point to reauthorization of the Higher Education Act as the top legislative education priority. However, as Inside Higher Ed outlines, Mrs. DeVos’ positions on higher education policy are largely unknown. Similarly, aside from establishing a charter school focused on careers in aviation, Mrs. DeVos’ positions on CTE are also not known.
In the 115th Congress, among ACTE’s legislative priorities will be reauthorization of the Perkins Act and higher funding levels for the Perkins Basic State Grant program. We hope Mrs. DeVos’ business background will help her view CTE as a critical component to ensuring today’s students are prepared for college and career success.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 11/28/2016 at 02:50 PM in Advocacy Resources, Executive Branch, In the News | Permalink
Betsy DeVoss, Department of Education
Time will tell. The assumption is with a business background, the new Secretary would have an appreciation for CTE as a major player in student's educational experience. It is difficult to determine the direction of the administration elect group.I do think major funding will go to Charter Schools and Vouchers. As far as I know from the information released on the potential new appointees, the majority went to private school as well as their children. That does not necessarily bode well for the public schools.
12/15/2016 at 03:08 PM
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