United States President Donald Trump has taken considerable flack from just about every direction during his first 100 days in office, but not much has been mentioned with regard to public education.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos did not start off on the right foot as she brought on more political opposition than any other cabinet member appointed by Trump. Since then, critics have mentioned that DeVos is set to “destroy” American public education. This, of course, can be easily considered hyperbole; nonetheless, national news broadcaster Univision recently published a sort of report card on what the Secretary really has planned for her term.
Although DeVos is one of the most powerful advocates of vouchers to allow students to enroll in private schools at a cost to taxpayers, there is not much she can do to advance this intention.
DeVos has said she will not impose voucher programs because she cannot technically do so; however, she keeps talking about the value of religious education, and this is something that makes some people nervous.
A broader impact could come from policies pushed by a lobby group associated with DeVos: a tax credit program for families to contribute towards private school scholarships for their children. This approach is already practiced in 17 states, and DeVos could push towards greater adoption at the cost of making political enemies not just for herself but also for Trump.
The White House does not seem to worry about education or about DeVos, and there really should not be many reasons to worry anyway; after all, prior policies from the Obama administration gave more power to individual states than to the Department of Education.
By the standards of the Bush administration, Trump would get an F in education, but times and policy have changed. The less the White House gets involved in education, the easier it would be for states to determine what should be done. In the end, Trump gets a C.