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ERIC Number: EJ1147121
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Betsy DeVos, the (Relatively Mainstream) Reformer
McShane, Michael Q.
Education Next, v17 n3 p26-33 Sum 2017
A privatization extremist. A religious zealot. A culture warrior. The new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, was painted as any or all of these things in the fevered weeks between the 2016 presidential election and her confirmation hearing. In the days following that hearing, tens of thousands of people flooded the lines of congressional offices, numerous petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures were circulated, and social media was set ablaze. The outcry culminated in a historic Senate confirmation vote for DeVos, with Vice President Mike Pence stepping in to break a 50-50 tie. In this article, the author takes a careful look at DeVos' record in Michigan and around the country, where she has spent decades as an advocate for children, philanthropist, and political power broker, reveals a fairly traditional, center-right education reformer. DeVos has a long history of supporting the kinds of accountability and school-choice policies that a broad swath of the education-reform community has championed over the last two decades. Despite her background, skepticism still looms. She has accepted an invitation to serve under a decidedly nontraditional president, causing a fair amount of cognitive dissonance in the education commentariat. Is there something sinister lurking behind her decision to join the Trump administration? This article examines her life story and the debate surrounding her confirmation hearing.
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A