Trump Nominee for Sec of Education will be Great for Colorado Parents

Cullen McDowell

Secretary Devos will be great for Colorado Education

There has been quite a bit of hand-wringing on the left about the nominee for the highest educational office in the land.  The AFT calls her nomination the, “destruction of public education.”  Senator Schumer has pointed her out as one of the nominees that he deems most necessary to obstruct when the hearings begin after the inauguration.  But we as Colorado Republicans and citizens wanting the best for our students should embrace this nominee.

Betsy Devos has been a friend of educational reform for decades.  Spending much of her wealth on campaigns to bring more school choice to parents in her home state of Michigan.  She was one of the architects of the Detroit Charter school system, has served on the board of the Alliance for Schools Choice and was a chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party in the late nineties.  While these area great educational references for a nominee that is not what should excite Colorado Republicans about her future at the Department of Education.

DeVos is a firm believer in innovation.  She has backed the charter school movement precisely because of the belief that great minds can solve great problems and that can help make America Great Again.  We know that one of the greatest problems America faces in this new century is the failing federalized and bureaucratic school system that Coloradans are forced to send our children to.  But Colorado leads the way in School innovation.  We have wholeheartedly embraced the idea of schools of innovation and the charter model.  Coloradans know that the free market of ideas can help to revolutionize the education system for our kids.

The Department of Education is a bureaucratic morass that siphons money and power from localities to disperse it back to the chosen localities across this nation.  A DeVos administration would shift that power back to the states and local systems that have the greatest understanding of what students need.  Much of the opposition to her nomination stresses this very point.  The fear is that power will not be held in Washington but given back to the people. Coloradans should and will embrace this concept.

Accountability has been the watchword of the federal government for the last two decades.  What our wise federal bureaucrats have determined is that we need to hold all schools and all states to the same measures resulting in more and more testing and less learning.  In her recent confirmation hearing DeVos would only answer that she “supports accountability.”  I support accountability as well but know that parents and the officials they have elected should be the one to determine how and when to hold schools and districts accountable in ways that work for each individual state.  Her refusal to clarify the accountability answer points to the hope that the accountability regime of DOE may be at an end or at least may embrace flexibility.

DeVos is a firebrand precisely because she makes the powers that be uncomfortable.  Ronald Reagan saw the DOE for what it was but failed in his attempt at abolition. Abolition may not be possible in our current political climate but the scaling back of power and the realignment of priorities is an absolute under a DeVos administration.  President Trump had American Children in mind when he picked this nominee and we as Coloradans should press for her confirmation.

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