Trump picks pro-voucher conservative for Education Secretary

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President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Betsy DeVos, a wealthy pro-voucher Republican activist, to head the Education Department.

Her record puts her dead center within establishment Republican Party circles.

In related news, Trump has chosen Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary. Chao was previously labor secretary in the last Bush administration, and also happens to be the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Once again, someone deeply linked to the establishment Republican Party.

At the same time, both picks have strong links to the very conservative Heritage Foundation.



  • wayne

    Elaine Chao-McConnell… so many choices… & we get Mitch’s wife? (We want to retire Mitch & send him back to Ky., not employ his entire Crony family.)
    -I can already see that trillion dollar “infra-structure” Bill being marked-up at warp speed.

    Betsy Devos, wife of Dick Devos, co-founder of Amway. (Based in Ada, Michigan, an upscale Company-town, outside of Grand Rapids.)
    Definitely, absolutely, knee deep in establishment RNC stuff, and all that entails.

  • Garry

    Wayne, I had never head of Betsy DeVos until she was nominated last week, and my first reaction was surprise that Trump had picked somebody who by most accounts is a strong proponent of vouchers. To me, that may be our best hope for improving public education (along with Walker-style reforms of teacher union arrangements). This is a better choice than I had hoped for by Trump.

    You seem disappointed with the pick, which concerns me, because I find your opinions well informed and well thought out, plus she’s from your neck of the woods, so you probably know a lot more about her.

    It’s my hope that, if approved, DeVos will focus on education issues and not get too wrapped up in the RNC stuff, although I’m sure she will use the contacts she gained from her RNC background. Giving her something to do that she’s passionate about might be the best way to bring her away from RNC type stuff.

    Can you elaborate on why you seem disappointed?

  • wayne

    Garry– appreciate your input.

    It’s not so much disappointment, tone is hard to convey in text…. I’m just highly leery of the whole Theater of the Absurd these announcement’s sorta become. (Trying to be as objective on her as best I can.)

    Haven’t formed firm opinions on her as of yet. (Personally, I want the Education Department dismantled.) But she is firmly in the “in group” amongst the Party big-whigs. (as a total side tangent– Grand Rapids, Michigan was the 1st City to fluoridate their water & it was the power base for Gerald Ford.)
    ((har… not saying either of those things are good/bad/neutral. It is what it is; people have varying opinions on fluoridation & Gerald Ford.)
    Grand Rapids is an odd mixture of Dutch Reform, Evangelicals, and wealthy Progressive’s.

    She always struck me as a Bushian overall, and was our Michigan State Chair for the GOP, she runs her own investment portfolio and Foundation. I think I’ve heard her speak before, but nothing strikes my memory one way or the other.

    Betsy Devos is the daughter of Edgar Prince, who founded the Prince Corp in Holland, Mi. (They make hi-tech auto parts, worldwide, I guarantee your car has Prince auto parts in it.) And, her brother is Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater. (Which morphed into a different name & went off-shore.)

    She has an impressive resume, that I cannot deny, by any stretch. She grew up with money but she’s never been accused of being an elitist or a slacker, & she went to a local College. And for what it’s worth, the Devos & Prince families have given hundreds of millions of dollars to local charities, and employ thousands of people worldwide.

    Her personal website is–

    Hope that helps, somewhat.

  • Garry

    Thanks, Wayne; it’s good to hear some background from somebody who’s been (geographically) close to her.

    I hope that Drain the Swamp really is the overarching goal, and I can see where picks like this one can be concerning.

    Having drained a few micro swamps (call them biologically sketchy puddles) in my time, I know that draining requires the knowledge possessed by insiders, in some form or other. I hope that these insiders are being tapped so that their knowledge can be used for the draining.

    Our education system certainly needs draining. I’m of 2 minds on dismantling the Department of Education; I think there’s value in setting national standards, but am not familiar enough with Core Curriculum to know whether it goes about it the right way.

    If I had my way, the standards would be much higher, with alternatives for those who can’t or won’t meet them; there are always jobs requiring little skills, and trying to educate those who can’t or refuse to be educated is a waste of resources, while it dilutes the value of a high school diploma. Of course, the education complex would never support that; there are too many jobs at stake.

    The next year will tell a lot about our country’s trajectory; I’m paying attention to nominations but it’s too early to read much into the tea leaves at this point.

  • Garry


    I was curious about Erik Prince’s background and found that he attended the Naval Academy (a few years after I did), but left it after 3 semesters because “he loved the Navy but hated the Academy.” I laughed out loud because I can relate to that a ton (but didn’t have the guts to quit like he did).

    I admire him for getting his commission by Officer’s Candidate School instead.

    I’m not sure what to think of Blackwater; I’ve read different views on it. Just another topic to explore for a less hectic time of my life.

  • wayne

    Ref Erik Prince– he wrote a book called “Civilian Warriors.” Look him up on C-span Book TV for an excellent lengthy interview. Whatever anyone thinks of Blackwater, the guy IS brilliant. I can see him bailing on the Academy. Personally, I have no problem with him or Blackwater. ( I forget what name they morphed into, and I’d prefer if he had stayed based in the USA., but he was being targeted politically & financially. )
    –That being said, that sort of business does require close oversight. (very close)
    [not opposed to using civilian mercenaries/logistical-support, but I’d prefer if we just wiped out the enemy and went home, and then we don’t need any extra “contract” people involved. ]

    Ref Betsy– Whoops… Mark Levin just informed me, “she was for Common Core, before she was against it.” That tells me she trends toward the Progressive wing of the Party, and it fits her. She won’t mind spending more money on “education,” but this time around it will be directed toward her fellow rino crony progressives.

    I understand completely where you are coming from ref “standards,” however/but, those should & need to be established at the local/state level. You don’t want anything to do with Common Core or any of it’s re-named derivatives.
    The Department of Education was established by Carter, we could manage fine without it & the Federal control it brings.

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