Does Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos Support Common Core?

Betsy Devos

US President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence meet with businesswoman Betsy DeVos at Trump National Golf Club November 19, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Getty)

Donald Trump’s choice for Education Secretary – school choice advocate and Republican Party activist Betsy DeVos – has come under fire from some conservatives who are concerned that she might support Common Core.

The educational curriculum standards are anathema in some conservative circles.

But does Betsy DeVos, the Michigan billionaire, really support Common Core? She criticizes it as a “federalized boondoggle” on her website. However, she also indicated the standards “made sense” when conservatives were controlling the local decisions.

The reason some conservatives are concerned: DeVos was on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which CNN says was a group led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that “promoted both school choice and the Common Core education standards.”

For his part, Donald Trump has pledged to get rid of Common Core, calling it a “disaster.” The Detroit News says DeVos and Trump discussed Common Core at a meeting shortly before her appointment as well as “setting higher national standards and promoting the growth of school choice across the nation.” The newspaper said “DeVos is part of multiple groups that have offered support for the controversial Common Core state curriculum standards” but added “her views on the subject are less than clear.”

betsy devos


However, DeVos addresses the Common Core issue head-on through her personal website. In fact, it’s one of only two questions she addresses in a section called Q & A.

She wrote, “Certainly. I am not a supporter—period. I do support high standards, strong accountability, and local control. 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 added, “Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position. Sometimes it’s not just students who need to do their homework. However, along the way, it got turned into a federalized boondoggle.”

DeVos concluded, “Above all, I believe every child, no matter their zip code or their parents’ jobs, deserves access to a quality education.”

She is best known for her family’s extensive campaign contributions to Republican Party candidates and PACS as well as her staunch advocacy for charter and choice schools. On her website, DeVos calls herself an “education reform advocate empowering parents to choose the best education for their children.”

Her husband, Dick, is the son and heir of Richard DeVos, Sr., the Amway co-founder whose net worth is set by Forbes at $5.1 billion.

You can learn more about DeVos here: