President-elect Trump was joined by his pick for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, at a “Thank You” rally Friday night in her home state of Michigan.
DeVos, a longtime school choice advocate and billionaire GOP donor, was tapped by Trump to head the Education Department late last month after impressing him and Vice President-elect Mike Pence with her understanding of education policy and dedication to improving public education and expanding charter schools in the Great Lake State.
“One of the most critical issues we have to tackle is education,” Trump told supporters in Grand Rapids, Mich., before inviting DeVos onstage. “We’re going to reform our broken education system to put students and families first.”
Trump described DeVos as one of the “the top education reformers in our nation and someone … who has devoted decades to helping our students.”
The former Michigan Republican party chairwoman was the second woman to be named to a Cabinet-level role in the next administration and has drawn the ire of teachers unions and Democratic lawmakers since her appointment. Shortly after being tapped to lead the Education Department, DeVos revealed that she vehemently opposes the controversial state-run education program known as Common Core.
She promised to scrap the education standards, which are currently used in more than 40 states, if confirmed by the Senate.
“In deference to the U.S. Senate confirmation, I’m not giving interviews but just between us let me share this,” DeVos told the crowd gathered in Grand Rapids. “It’s time to make education great again in this country.”
“This means putting kids first,” she said to cheers. “This means expanding choices and options to give every child the opportunity for a quality education regardless of their zip code or family circumstances. This means letting states set their own standards and finally putting an end to the federal Common Core.”
DeVos continued, “The answer isn’t bigger government. The answer is local control. It’s listening to parents and it’s giving more choice. And if I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed as your secretary of education, our kids, your kids will have someone fighting for them every single day.”