Donald Trump’s education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos joined him for a “Thank You” rally in her home state of Michigan, where she told the crowd making education great again means “finally putting an end to the federal Common Core.”
Trump’s pick is the former chair of the Michigan Republican Party and one of the party’s most influential donors. DeVos is a proponent of charter schools and school vouchers.
“In deference to the U.S. Senate confirmation, I’m not giving interviews, but just between us let me share this,” DeVos said to the crowd, speaking from prepared remarks. “It’s time to make education great again in this country.”
Mlive.com reports DeVos initially had planned to skip Trump’s stop in Grand Rapids. The report states:
DeVos family spokesman John Truscott said earlier this week that preparing for those hearings would keep her too busy to attend Friday’s event.
But only a day later, Truscott said her attendance at the event was more uncertain.
“It’s kind of up in the air,” Truscott said on Wednesday, Dec. 7. “It’s possible. But nothing is set in stone.”
But on the afternoon of the event, Truscott confirmed that both Betsy and Dick DeVos would be attending alongside Dick’s parents, Richard and Helen DeVos.
During her address, DeVos charged the media with spreading “false news” about her.
“All I ask for is an open mind and the opportunity to share my heart,” she said to those in attendance. “I’ve been involved in education issues for 28 years, as an activist, a citizen-volunteer and an advocate for children.”
DeVos told the crowd it was time to put “kids first every single day.” She added, “This means expanding choices and options to give every child the opportunity for a quality education regardless of their zip code or their family circumstances. This means letting states set their own high standards and finally putting an end to the federalized Common Core.”
DeVos said, “It won’t be Washington, D.C. that unlocks that potential” in each child, and continued:
It won’t be a giant bureaucracy or a federal department. Nope. The answer isn’t bigger government. The answer is local control. It’s listening to parents and it’s giving more choices. And if I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed as your secretary of education, our kids, your kids will have someone fighting for them every single day.
Prior to introducing DeVos, Trump said the choice of education secretary was one of his “most important decisions,” and that DeVos was one of the “top education reformers in our nation, someone…who has devoted decades to helping disadvantaged students.”
“We’re going to reform our broken education system to put students and families first,” he said.
Trump added his administration’s “reform plan includes eliminating Common Core, bringing education local, and providing school choice.”
He continued that all children should be “able to attend the public, private, charter, magnet, or religious school that is right for them.”
DeVos was not a supporter of Trump until he began raising the issue of school choice on the campaign trail. A member of the board of directors of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, DeVos brought her support to Sen. Marco Rubio once Bush exited the primary race. At the Republican National Convention in July, she was an at-large delegate for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Ultimately, according to the Washington Post, DeVos and her family donated a total of $1.8 million to the Republican Party and the Trump campaign.