Betsy DeVos wants to clear something up: She definitely doesn’t like the Common Core standards.
DeVos, the Michigan philanthropist and voucher advocate whom President-elect Donald Trump nominated to be his education secretary, is on the board of the foundation that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush created in part to lobby for the standards.
That connection led to questions in recent days about whether DeVos agreed with Trump’s vow to end the Common Core — something he has no power to do because states opted in individually. The Trump team’s disclosure that the two “focused on the Common Core mission, and setting higher national standards” during their weekend meeting heightened the speculation.
Now, DeVos has offered some “straight talk” on the subject. “I am not a supporter — period,” she posted on her new website, BetsyDevos.com. “Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position.”
She said she supported the standards when local officials were the strongest advocates. “When Governors such as John Engler, Mike Huckabee, and Mike Pence were driving the conversation on voluntary high standards driven by local voices, it all made sense,” she said, leaving out Bush, who publicly opposed Trump’s candidacy.
But she implied that the standards had taken a wrong turn once the Obama administration urged states to adopt them. “However, along the way, it got turned into a federalized boondoggle,” she wrote.
On the website, DeVos suggested that she does not intend to flesh out Trump’s education agenda for some time.
“I am very excited to get to work and to talk about my thoughts and ideas on making American education great again. The status quo is not acceptable. I am committed to transforming our education system into the best in the world,” the site says. “However, out of respect for the United States Senate, it is most appropriate for me to defer expounding on specifics until they begin their confirmation process.”