It has been more than six months since Betsy DeVos was confirmed as education secretary after one of the most contentious Cabinet nomination battles in memory, and so we thought it worth an update on her major moves so far — and the public response.
DeVos is most associated with one idea: school choice. In particular, she has a record of supporting options other than traditional district public schools, such as charter schools, virtual schools, vouchers for private schools and home schooling. She has signaled that support as secretary by often visiting private and charter schools.
However, going all the way back to her confirmation, DeVos didn't actually advocate a stronger federal role in any area of education, including in expanding school choice. "The future of choice does not begin with a new federal mandate from Washington!" as she put it recently in a speech at Harvard University.
President Trump's initial budget proposals to expand money for charters and vouchers have been shot down in congressional committees; their fate is uncertain until Congress votes on the budget later this year. In the meantime, the department announced $253 million in grants to states for charter schools late last month — the continuation, at similar funding levels, of a program introduced in 2014.