WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump has selected a charter school advocate and GOP donor from Michigan to be the nation’s education secretary.
Trump met with the Bestsy DeVos this weekend at his golf club in New Jersey, where he hosted a slew of potential Cabinet appointees. On Tuesday, Trump offered DeVos the position to head the Department of Education and she accepted it the same day, a senior Trump transition official told CNN.
“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
DeVos heads the advocacy group American Federation for Children. She’s known for supporting charter schools and vouchers.
Trump is also already drawing fire from both sides of the political spectrum for his pick. The largest teacher’s union in the country — the National Education Association — slammed DeVos within an hour of the announcement for her advocacy of charter schools and school voucher programs, while conservatives quickly pointed out DeVos’ association with groups supporting the Common Core education standards, which Trump has vowed to nix.
“She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers — which take away funding and local control from our public schools — to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense,” the NEA said in a statement. “By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.”
DeVos becomes the second woman chosen to fill a spot in Trump’s Cabinet.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump named South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations earlier in the day. Both selections require Senate confirmation.
DeVos did not mention Common Core in a statement Wednesday, but said broadly that “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 said in a statement.
The 58-year-old DeVos is a former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman. Her husband, Dick, is an heir to the Amway fortune and a former company president.
CNN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.