Who Will Be the Next U.S. Education Secretary?

Published November 22, 2016

As candidates for advisory and cabinet positions come and leave, vetted, from Trump Tower, speculation has been rising over who will become the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. BuzzFeed reports the field has narrowed to school choice and Common Core advocate Betsy DeVos and Washington, DC public school leader Michelle Rhee, while the74million.org presents a handful of possible appointees:

Betting on presidential nominees seems particularly hazardous in 2016, but we’re not without information. The names floated, leaked or wishfully inserted into the conversation about Donald Trump’s choice for education secretary share his apparent resolve to expand school choice — but they do so along a continuum.

The best-known of the presumed candidates, former Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, is not primarily associated with the choice movement; she backs charters but has been pragmatic and restrained (among this company) about other options. By contrast, for Larry Arnn, president of conservative Hillsdale College and a Trump supporter during the campaign, choice is an imperative of limited government and the free market.

But education secretaries labor in the shadow of the presidents they serve, and this, at least, is unlikely to change in the administration of Donald Trump. Even Rhee, who in her salad days was perhaps as close to a celebrity as a superintendent can get, is presumably unfamiliar to most Americans; well-connected and influential players like Michigan philanthropist Betsy DeVos and Indiana insider and U.S. Congressman Luke Messer are even less familiar outside the political bubble and their home states.

Edweek.org further postulates who will have roles in creating Trump Administration education policy, naming the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation as likely influencers. Let’s hope whoever Trump picks doesn’t spoil our turkey.

SOURCE: the74million.org


School Choice Roundup

  • TRUMP: Education experts are “struggling to read the tea leaves” to determine where the president-elect stands on school choice, students loans, and Common Core, The New York Times reports.

Common Core and Curriculum Watch

  • DUAL-LANGUAGE: A Washington, DC-area school has introduced a dual-language program to help underprivileged children beat the achievement gap.
  • SEX ED: An increasing number of college campuses are teaching “affirmative consent education,” stressing “Yes means yes” in sexual encounters.
  • NEW YORK: Chalkbeat.org reports to “ease fears of Common Core,” New York State is changing the standards’ name, but they are having trouble picking one.
  • COMMON CORE: Shane Vander Hart writes he is “cautiously optimistic” a repeal of Common Core can happen after many anti-Common Core candidates won on Election Day.

Education Today

  • DISCIPLINE: U.S. Education Secretary John King is urging schools to do away with corporal punishment.
  • LITERACY: Seven Detroit schoolchildren are suing the state of Michigan, alleging they’ve been denied access to literacy, though Gov. Rick Snyder says literacy is not a right.

Thank you for reading! If you need a quicker fix of news about school choice, you can find daily updates online at https://heartland.org/topics/education.