Just minutes after President-elect Donald Trump announced her as his new education secretary, Betsy DeVos, 58, said she would bring about “transformational change” within the American education system.
The wealthy Republican donor has previously been a strong advocate for school choice in her home state of Michigan.
She said: “I am honored to work with the president-elect on his vision to make American education great again. The status quo in ed is not acceptable.”
However, Ms DeVos’ appointment did not sit well with many Trump supporters, given that she has previously been advocate of the Common Core education standards which Mr Trump fought against during his election campaign. Teachers unions are also strongly against the sweeping reforms she is proposing.
However, in a tweet, she has said: “To clarify. I am not a supporter – period.” The Common Core learning standards were introduced in a large number of states across the US with the aim of improving pupil’s readiness to go onto further education, or into work.
On her own website, Ms DeVos states that while she believed the standards “made sense” when they were first introduced, she said it “got turned into federalised boondoggle”.
Making her appointment, Mr Trump praised her brilliance and passion when it came to education. He added: “Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”
Mr Trump said she would make good on his pledge to make school choice an education priority.
Ms DeVos, however, has not been as gushing about the new president. Before his election she said she found some of his policies “off putting and concerning” She actually supported the Govenor John Kasich of Ohio at the Republican National Convention in the summer.