President Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education reiterates his deep commitment to challenging the status quo and building a better future for our children. During her confirmation hearing last week, DeVos illustrated the true passion she brings to education reform. She believes every child should get an exceptional education regardless of geography or income, and that decisions should be made at the local level. And DeVos knows that, together with Congress, we can develop innovative reforms to ensure our children are prepared with the skills to obtain good-paying jobs.
For three decades, DeVos and her husband, Dick, have donated their money and dedicated their time to fight for children stuck in underperforming public schools. This is a labor of love for the DeVos family. It is why they stood shoulder to shoulder with parents and reform-minded Democrats and Republicans in dozens of states to expand school choice – because competition is beneficial for our children. And it is why DeVos is stepping forward now to serve her country and advance a vision for education reform that trusts parents to make the right decisions on how and where their children are educated.
DeVos is exactly the type of person our Founding Fathers envisioned serving in government, as she is a civic-minded citizen looking to help her country. Unfortunately, that’s not how some tried to portray her last week.
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren took shots at DeVos in a desperate attempt to score points on cable television and social media. Democrats went after her for being a devout Christian; they attacked her for donating money to Republican candidates; they even tried to pin her down for opposing a debt-busting plan to make all college free, even suggested that she would condone sexual assault on college campuses. It was a sad, partisan display — and certainly not worthy of the important debate we need to have over how to best raise the bar on education.
DeVos has the backbone and independence to shake things up. She has proven time and again that she has the mettle to implement innovative methods that will improve education for all. As members of Congress and parents who work with our K-12 system today, we respect and greatly appreciate the tireless work of all our educators. This is not an attack on public schools; this is about making sure every child has the opportunity to succeed, no matter their community or background.
Those of us in Michigan who know and respect DeVos understand that she is an inspired choice to serve as Secretary of Education. She has a big heart and love for children, and her willingness to fight for their best interests will create stronger schools and education opportunities for the next generation. We urge our colleagues in the U.S. Senate to ignore specious political attacks and quickly confirm Betsy DeVos, so she can begin the important work of fixing America’s schools for everyone.
David Trott and Mike Bishop are Republicans who represent Oakland County in the U.S. House of Representatives.