I can understand the disappointment and anxiety demonstrated by the left over the prospects of a Trump presidency. His policy and personnel appointments should frighten and disorient those whose lives for the last eight years had been buoyed by a sense of superiority and entitlement, leaving many, like me, befuddled and estranged.
But for the life of me, I cannot understand the vicious and senseless attack on a woman who only wants what's best for kids, especially poor and minority students stuck in lousy public schools.
Betsy DeVos has worked tirelessly and passionately to ensure that children, especially at-risk kids, have access to higher-performing schools. She has worked, and continues to do so, side-by-side with advocates for expanded school choice to ensure that parents have a larger voice in where and how their children are educated.
DeVos understands that competition in K-12 education is a force for good that can help drive improvements in all schools, whether they be public, private or virtual. Simply put, when educators and school administrators have to compete for students and the dollars that fund their education, everyone in the K-12 system is forced to raise their game and put a greater emphasis on delivering results for students.
Over the 28 years, DeVos has been on the frontlines of education battles in dozens of state capitals, always siding with parents and children who deserve access to schools that do a better job of providing them with the knowledge to be college and career-ready. Her support for school choice has drawn the harsh criticisms of an education establishment that has protected the interests of union bosses at the expense of the nation’s school children.
Simply put, Betsy DeVos is a courageous woman who will fight the fights that need to be won. She will take on entrenched special interests and out-of-touch bureaucracies to drive decision making concerning schools back into the state and local level where it belongs.
DeVos is a woman who has a big heart and she is driven, first and foremost, by what is in the best interests of children. In addition to her dedicated advocacy for K-12 education reform, she has been a leader in the national mentoring movement, volunteering her own time to provide guidance to at-risk children.
Donald Trump won the election because he convinced voters that he would be an agent of dramatic change in Washington. In DeVos, he has picked a fighter for children who will help hold educators accountable and create a culture conducive to innovation and reform.
I urge the U.S. Senate to confirm DeVos. She is the strong leader the nation needs to drive an important and long overdue conversation about what is needed to close the skills gap in our economy and ensure that we have a highly-skilled workforce that can preserve America’s status as an economic power
Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, chairs the K-12 School Aid Appropriations Subcommittee and serves on the House Education Committee.