January 31, 2017

Elisabeth "Betsy" DeVos to be Secretary of Education

  • Betsy DeVos has devoted her life to giving children – especially those from low-income families – better choices of schools.  
  • She supports accountability for all schools, as determined by states, not Washington.
  • DeVos: “I look forward to working with [Congress] to enact solutions that empower parents and students, provide high quality options, and spend tax dollars wisely.” 


Betsy DeVos has spent decades advocating for school reforms and helping underserved children gain access to quality education. DeVos served as chairman of the American Federation for Children, the mission of which is to improve our nation’s K-12 education. She has also served on the boards of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, American Enterprise Institute, Philanthropy Roundtable, and Kids Hope USA. She has been chair of the Windquest Group, a private investment firm.

DeVos received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  

Senate Action

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a confirmation hearing for DeVos on January 17. On January 31, she was favorably voted out of committee 12-11. 


In her written statement, DeVos said: “if confirmed, I will be a strong advocate for great public schools. But, if a school is troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child – perhaps they have a special need that is going unmet – we should support a parent’s right to enroll their child in a high quality alternative.” 

DeVos supports accountability for all schools and believes accountability should be determined by the states, not Washington. She testified that she is committed to implementing the laws as written by Congress. Regarding the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, DeVos wrote in a follow-up letter to Senator Isakson that she was “committed to enforcing all federal laws and protecting the hard won rights of students with disabilities.”

HELP Chairman Alexander has said: “Betsy DeVos is on our children’s side. On charter schools and school choice, she is in the mainstream of those trying to help children succeed and her critics are outside of it.”

On January 19, the Office of Government Ethics, in consolation with the Department of Education’s Ethics Division, approved DeVos’ public financial disclosure form. The office informed Chairman Alexander that DeVos “is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest.” 

Issue Tag: Education