Statement From MASB ED Don Wotruba on Nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education

Don Wotruba

By Don Wotruba, CAE, MASB Executive Director

DashBoard, Nov. 30, 2016

Many public school advocates have raised concerns with President-Elect Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education nominee. I have several of the same concerns.

First, my overriding concern is that Ms. DeVos has seemingly invested millions of dollars over the years in candidates and ballot issues that undermine public education and push a school choice agenda with little to no evidence of increased achievement. Could that money not have been spent on helping the public school system that the vast majority of students attend?

With this track record I have great concern that President-Elect Trump and Ms. DeVos will spend significant federal dollars on school choice and voucher programs that will help few students, and instead, line the pockets of for-profit entities. It would not surprise me to see some of the same incentive-laden language that was used in Race to the Top, and decried by most Republicans, to incentivize school choice and vouchers at the state level.

All this being said, I also believe that President-Elect Trump and Ms. DeVos are not fans of federal intervention in the day-to-day operations of our public school systems and that will be welcome relief for our local boards and superintendents. The state and local district flexibility that was created in the Every Student Succeeds Act will likely continue under the leadership of Ms. DeVos and possibly even expand.

All of this is purely speculation and based on past actions and statements. It is completely unknown what will actually happen. We’ll likely see what we see from many elected and appointed officials at the state and federal levels—we will fight to the end on certain issues and be allies on others.

As always, MASB will be here to monitor and advocate on behalf of Michigan’s public schools. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at or 517.327.5900.

News Articles Regarding Ms. DeVos’ Nomination:

Betsy DeVos: Fighter for kids or destroyer of public schools?

Betsy DeVos on Common Core, 'I am not a supporter - period'

What’s the worst that could happen with Betsy DeVos as education secretary? Two scenarios.

Betsy DeVos and the Wrong Way to Fix Schools

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s choice for education secretary, is advocate for school choice

DeVos selection ignites fight on how to help students

Betsy DeVos and the segregation of school choice

Our View: Too soon to judge on Betsy DeVos nomination for Secretary of Education

Editorial: DeVos would bring innovation to schools

5 things to know about Betsy DeVos, Trump's new education secretary

Trump pick Betsy DeVos either 'dangerous' or 'exciting'

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