Letters: Should DeVos get school chief role?

If the senators weighing the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the next education secretary rely only on the hateful statements spewing from the national teachers unions, they might conclude that she is an ideology-driven zealot who knows nothing about children or schools. If they learn about her from Michigan citizens who know her best, including some who have told of her good work via The Detroit News, senators can come to realize that she is all about the well-being of children.

Particularly compelling was the feature by Shawn McCoy (“DeVos’ school reform journey,” Jan. 10) who told in detail of Betsy and Dick DeVos’ helping disadvantaged children at Potter’s House School in Grand Rapids over the past 30 years. Their aid has been not just financial but personal with one-on-one mentoring aimed at helping children and families meet their goals.

DeVos is “supportive of any school that offers strong results; what she won’t tolerate is telling families they don’t have a choice if their neighborhood school is failing,” Ingrid Jacques wrote (“Betsy DeVos is all about the children,” Dec. 2).

As a federal education official, DeVos won’t have the legal authority to force localities to implement school choice. However, she can be an advocate for children stuck in bad schools and she could rework federal regulations to make it easier for families to find educational alternatives locally.

Robert Holland, Heartland Institute

Senior fellow, education policy

I really tried to keep an open mind on Betsy DeVos. After the strong endorsement by Gov. Rick Snyder (“DeVos puts kids first,” Jan. 17) and her initial answers in the confirmation hearing, however, I wonder who thought she was qualified. DeVos may care about education with a passion. She may donate millions to improve the education system. But can anyone tell me if she ever taught in a classroom? Does she have a teaching degree? Any experience, in any school system, regarding administrative past history? Seems the only qualification DeVos has is being a key Republican Party donor.

DeVos, when asked about guns in school being permitted, replied that there are bears (in western states) and guns are needed for protection. Guns are everywhere in every inner city school. This is a joke. Or is it? I went to Detroit schools and have a teaching degree. I am more qualified than Betsy DeVos.

Jim Fox, Shelby Twp.