Common Core and school choice proponent Jeb Bush says he is “so excited” that President-elect Donald Trump chose billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos as his education secretary nominee.
“I’m so excited,” Bush said last week at the National Summit on Education Reform, sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which Bush founded and chairs and on which DeVos serves as a board member.
“President-elect Trump made an extraordinary choice with Betsy DeVos,” he added, reports the SunSentinel.
In his address at the summit, Bush, a strong proponent of Common Core and school vouchers, discussed the importance of taking a moral stand on school choice. The former GOP candidate did the same for amnesty for illegal immigrants when he described crossing the U.S. border illegally as an “act of love.”
“Politically, the challenge in this really kind of crude environment is to go beyond being against what’s not working and being for things that will work, that will lift people up,” Bush said. “And I tried that and totally failed, miserably. I mean, like, belly flop — bam.”
Upon DeVos’ nomination, Bush said, “I cannot think of a more effective and passionate change agent to press for a new education vision, one in which students, rather than adults and bureaucracies, become the priority in our nation’s classrooms.”
At Townhall, American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins writes that Trump’s choice of DeVos to run the federal education department could even be viewed as “Jeb’s revenge.”
Jeb Bush and his ideological compatriots, including DeVos, advance what could be called a “government-foundation cartel” model of educational policy-making. Private foundations funded by wealthy individuals (who themselves may be dilettantes with no real experience in education) contribute ideas, and frequently personnel, to the government to achieve their policy goals. The government relies on “research” funded by these foundations to support the preferred policies, and if Congress or state legislatures are involved, their members are assured these ideas are terrific because of all this research.
Even the new “bipartisan” education law – the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – pushed through Congress by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will provide DeVos, if confirmed, with continued power to manage the nation’s schools and students.
Robbins notes ESSA “enshrines the progressive-education agenda of national standards, workforce development, competency-based education (the modern term for discredited outcome-based education), digital training, government preschool, and non-academic ‘social emotional learning.’”
Though, upon her nomination, DeVos quickly dismissed any notion that she has been supportive of Common Core, her statement that she calls for “high standards” and “accountability” are “sleight of hand” words that describe the unpopular nationalized standards, says Robbins.
Grassroots Common Core opponents in DeVos’ home state of Michigan also noted the philanthropist had never contacted them to ask how she might assist them in their efforts to repeal Common Core in their state.
Trump vowed to eliminate Common Core while on the campaign trail, referring to it as a “disaster.” He also said he would work to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education.
Trump transition team spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement following the announcement of DeVos’ nomination, “The President-elect has been consistent and very clear in his opposition to Common Core. Anybody joining the Administration is signing on to the President-elect’s platform and vision for moving America forward.”