Protect public education

betsy devos

"[Betsy DeVos'] appointment signals the desire of those on the right to dismantle all public goods, and especially public schools."
—Tamara Lucas, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Montclair State University (Letter to the Editor, New York Times) 1

Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education on Feb7, 2017.

She and her family who have been "allied with Charles and David Koch for years"7 are major donors to the Republican party and other rightwing organizations. A strong advocate of school vouchers, DeVos "is a religious conservative who has pushed for years to breach the wall between church and state on education, among other issues."7

Betsy DeVos's family

DeVos "stands at the intersection of two family fortunes that helped to build the Christian right." 2 Her father's fortune contributed to the creation of the Family Research Council and her father-in-law is the co-founder of Amway, which has also been funding conservative causes and the religious right since the 1970s. DeVos' brother Erik Prince is founder of the military contractor Blackwater.

The voucher system

"[Vouchers] originally came into fashion among Southern conservatives seeking to support segregation in schools. But activists soon grasped that vouchers could be useful in a general assault on public education." 2
"Never has anyone been appointed to lead in the past 150 years who was hostile to public education,"
Education historian Diane Ravitch4

What organizations have come out against DeVos?

  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT). "An affiliate of the AFL-CIO, was founded in 1916 and today represents 1.6 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide."
  • National Education Association (NEA). "The nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education."

Education Policy Events

Education forum

Federal education policy
under the Trump administration
Wed, Jan 4
3:30 pm
Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium
1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
more info
Register online

Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings will host a public forum examining the history and future of federal education policy. This event, marking the culmination of the Memos to the President on the Future of Education Policy series, will convene leaders and scholars with a variety of perspectives to discuss the federal government’s involvement with public schools.

After the session, panelists will take audience questions.


1. "Donald Trump's Nominee for Education Secretary," Tamara Lucus, New York Times.

2. "Betsy DeVos and God's Plan for Schools," Katherine Stewart, New York Times, Dec. 13, 2016.

3. "What's the worst that could happen with Betsy DeVos as education secretary? Two scenarios," Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, November 27.

4. "Trump's Billionaire Education Secretary Has Been Trying to Gut Public Schools for Years," Kristina Rizga, Mother Johes, Nov. 29, 2016.

5. "NEA President reacts to Betsy DeVos nomination for Education Secretary", Nov 23, 2016. NEA President Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a,,

6. "What Trump's Cabinet picks tell us," Randi Weingartenm, President, American Federation of Teachers, 12/18/2016. 7. "Betsy DeVos, Trump's Big-Donor Education Secretary," Jane Mayer, November 23, 2016, New Yorker.