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ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.


Betsy DeVos Is Less Popular With Teachers Than Donald Trump

By Alyson Klein — December 21, 2017 1 min read
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and President Donald Trump tour St. Andrew Catholic School on March 3, in Orlando, Fla.
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Why is U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos even more unpopular among educators than her boss, President Donald Trump?

Overall, 67 percent of the 1,122 teachers, school, and district leaders surveyed by the Education Week Research Center in October. had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, but 72 percent said they didn’t like DeVos.

In followup interviews, educator after educator brought up what they see as DeVos’ lack of qualifications for her job, given that she’s never worked professionally in a public school district, or postsecondary institution, and never sent her own children to a public school or attended one herself.

“I think Betsy DeVos is very destructive,” said Douglas Jones, a Democrat who teaches history in Sarasota County, Florida, and voted for Clinton.

“I would love to have her removed,” said Beth Boxley, a media specialist and high school English teacher in a small rural Missouri district, and a Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton.

Even some teachers who voted for Trump don’t support DeVos.

“I think he probably could have made a wiser choice,” said Jason Tackett, a Republican who voted for Trump. He teaches social studies at Herald Whitaker Middle School in Kentucky’s Magoffin County, about an hour and a half drive from Lexington.

Others, however, said why they think DeVos was a good pick.

Laurie Villani, a Republican who teaches kindergarten in Virginia’s Prince William County, is heartened to have someone at the helm of the department who is motivated by her religious faith.

For decades, the secretary and her family have given millions to Christian organizations and causes, as well as more secular ones. DeVos’ interest in education was first sparked by a visit to The Potter’s House, a “Christ-centered’ school serving a largely income low-population in her home state of Michigan.

“By hiring her they broke through the wall that we had been putting up around us of fear of religion,” said Villani, who voted for Trump. DeVos’ presence at the department is making a statement, she said that, “it’s okay if you are a Christian.”

Want more? Check out these other stories on the survey results.