Republican activist Betsy DeVos, a strong supporter of charter schools and school choice, is being cited by national publications as being among the candidates president-elect Donald Trump is considering for U.S. Secretary of Education.
DeVos, the wife of Dick DeVos, joins several other Michiganders, including former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland and Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, who have been mentioned as potentially securing key roles in the Trump administration.
DeVos's background would be a fit for Trump's plans to boost school choice in the U.S., particularly for high-poverty students. She is on the board of directors for the Great Lakes Education Project, which advocates for school choice and charter schools. She also chairs the board of directors of the American Federation for Children, another choice advocacy group.
Greg McNeilly, spokesman for DeVos, declined to comment this afternoon and said DeVos herself also would not be commenting.
DeVos and her husband led a failed effort to amend the Michigan constitution to provide vouchers that would allow students to attend private schools at public expense. That's a centerpiece of Trump's education plan. He would invest $20 billion in federal money towards school choice, and expect states to kick in $110 billion of their own money, to provide $12,000 each in school choice funds to the 11 million school-aged children living in poverty.
The $20 billion wouldn't be new money, but would instead be the result of re-prioritizing existing federal money.
The Hill cites sources that say DeVos and Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools. POLITICO identifies a number of candidates, but says the top choices are likely Indiana Rep. Luke Messer and William Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.