President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is “one of the most ineffective people ever to hold the job,” say some insiders, and education officials are already starting to plan for a “post-Devos landscape” when she is removed or steps down.
In a comprehensive profile, Politico said billionaire evangelical Christian DeVos has found herself stymied by the bureaucratic restraints on her job, but that bringing about change in Washington requires “time, patience and government savvy — three things she does not have.”
DeVos, said Politico’s Tim Alberta, is on a “religiously infused journey to reimagine the relationship between government, parents, teachers and schools.”
The Secretary wants to allow parents more freedom to withdraw their children from public schools and enroll them in charter schools, religious schools and private schools. What makes DeVos radical is she wants federal tax dollars to follow those children out of the public school system.
One problem with implementing her plan is that public schools receive very little of their funding from the federal government. Another is her overall unpopularity and ineffectiveness.
Her first budget proposal for the department — one which would have slashed funding from multiple school programs and reapportioned that money to DeVos’ pet cause, “school choice” — was rejected by Congress. Now, with her agenda on the rocks and morale at the Education Department cratering, some predict that DeVos may return to the private sector sooner than she’d planned.
“She can talk about bureaucracy and how constraining it is for her, but a Republican-controlled Congress rejected her budget proposals. She can’t fill her senior staff slots. Morale is terrible at the department,” says Thomas Toch of FutureEd — an education think tank affiliated with Georgetown University’s McCord School of Public Policy. “And I’ll tell you, in Washington education circles, the conversation is already about the post-DeVos landscape, because the assumption is she won’t stay long. And for my money, I don’t think it would be a bad thing if she left. I think she’s been probably one of the most ineffective people to ever hold the job.”