Former Clinton Official Applauds Betsy DeVos: ‘She Worked with Jeb Bush’ on Standards

A former assistant secretary of employment and training in the Clinton administration labor department is praising Donald Trump’s pick of Betsy DeVos for U.S. education secretary.

Doug Ross, also a former Democratic state senator from DeVos’ home state of Michigan, said in an interview with WJR AM 760 in Detroit that the nominee “clearly cares about children and their education,” displays a “moral commitment to make sure that low-income children have equal opportunity,” and that she is “knowledgeable.”

“I mean she worked for some years with Jeb Bush on making sure we have really high internationally competitive performance standards for kids,” Ross said, “and she constantly is talking to different people in the education field so she’s both committed to children and their education and she’s knowledgeable and philosophically she’s very consistent I think with where the front administration is.”

Many politicians have learned to avoid using the words “Common Core” because of their political “toxicity.” Instead, they frequently use phrases such “high” or “rigorous standards,” and “accountability,” to refer to Common Core. Grassroots parent activists who have been battling the Core in their states, however, say they have learned the meaning of these other terms as well.

Upon her nomination as secretary of education, DeVos herself denied she supports Common Core, stating, “Certainly. I am not a supporter—period. I do support high standards, strong accountability, and local control.”

The organizations she has funded and served as either a board member or chairman, however, have promoted the controversial standards, including Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, referenced by Ross.

Ohio parent activist Heidi Huber observes to Breitbart News that Ross clearly “considers DeVos’ work with Jeb Bush as a top qualification.”

“Unfortunately, Mr. Ross must have missed news of the really low international performance of the first Common Core generation,” Huber states, and continues:

Per the recently released TIMSS and PISA reports, American students are losing ground against their international peers since the introduction of the Common Core standards. Just a small application of discernment by the Trump transition team should disqualify anyone involved in this education reform disaster, much less a known leader and financier, from serving in the “No Common Core” promised administration. The question that begs to be answered, “Who would care what Betsy DeVos’ opinions were on education if she wasn’t a billionaire who could bankroll her supporters’ special interests and think tanks?”

Louisiana parent activist Sara Wood notes to Breitbart News as well, “Common Core was never proven to be international or competitive.”

Wood states:

As a parent, I would like to know what on earth qualifies DeVos with the knowledge required to develop “internationally competitive performance standards” that were “voluntarily” forced on all students of this nation, as we are experiencing with the disastrous Common Core? DeVos’ resume seems more filled with experience in writing donor checks and in obtaining fancy board memberships, as a result of those donations, than anything that would qualify her to run the U.S. Department of Education or to develop standards for anything, least of all education.

Wood says the choice of DeVos is disturbing to the thousands of parents who have been fighting the establishment elites and big business and industry groups that support Common Core:

All of this should unsettle anyone who has been fighting the Common Core, not just as damaging standards, but as a Trojan horse disguising and distracting from the entire initiative to centralize education in America, leaving no choice but the choice of educating children to the lowest common denominator. Concerned citizens, like myself, who supported Trump because of his promise to get rid of Common Core and restore local control of education, should be alarmed by this decision. Praises from the likes of Ross and Jeb Bush only puts us on notice that those promises are in jeopardy and that the battle for the minds of our children is far from over.

New Hampshire education activist with Cornerstone Ann Marie Banfield also recognizes the Common Core references in Ross’ responses.

“He referenced her working on high, internationally competitive performance standards in collaboration with Jeb Bush,” she tells Breitbart News. “What high performing countries, do the Common Core Standards align to? I asked this question directly to Marc Tucker – one of the chief architects of Common Core when he came to New Hampshire – and he couldn’t name one.”

Banfield continues:

How are we supposed to have confidence in a person who worked against parents fighting for better quality standards for their children?

Common Core is a complete redesign of public education in America. DeVos hasn’t mentioned the data-mining on students or the dumbed down competency based workforce training model that is eroding academic content in our local schools.

Any person appointed to the U.S. Department of Education should offer a detailed plan to undo the failed Obama education reforms. Instead we received a brief statement from DeVos stating she opposes Common Core. That contradicts her position on Common Core in the past.

The endorsements by Jeb Bush and former Clinton official Ross offer opponents of Common Core no real assurance that anything will improve. It actually makes me even more convinced this was the wrong choice.

Joining President-elect Donald Trump at a “Thank You” tour rally in her home state of Michigan last week, DeVos said in prepared remarks she would be “finally putting an end to the federalized Common Core.”

“DeVos’ parsing on Common Core is going to become harder to maintain the more she speaks on education…[her] use of the qualifier ‘federalized’ is telling,” Karen Braun, who writes at Stop Common Core in Michigan, says. “DeVos likely believes Common Core is a high standard and a quality choice for states; otherwise she would be with us at Stop Common Core in Michigan, fighting it to get it out, and replacing it with the pre-Common Core Massachusetts standards. She’s not.”


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