A Politico report states education secretary Betsy DeVos blames the Trump transition team for her confirmation process difficulties that overshadowed the fact she had been recommended for her post by both Jeb Bush and Mike Pence.
Within days of Donald Trump’s election victory, Betsy DeVos’s good friend Jeb Bush asked her if she would be interested in the top federal education post, and then asked Vice President-elect Mike Pence to recommend her for the job, the report says.
“He was really the only person I knew in the transition,” Bush told Tim Alberta, writing for Politico Magazine. “He was the best person, because he was running it.”
Bush added it turned out both he and Pence – two former GOP governors – had the same thought since both had worked with DeVos to advance their education agendas in their home states of Florida and Indiana, respectively.
“He made it clear that he was already thinking about Betsy, too,” Bush said of Pence.
Once DeVos was formally nominated by Trump, Bush announced publicly he was “excited.”
Though once nominated by Trump, DeVos announced she was “certainly … not a supporter” of Common Core, she made contributions of both her time and personal wealth to support pro-Common Core organizations that fought repeal of the controversial standards, including the Great Lakes Education Project in her home state of Michigan and Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education.
As Indiana governor, Pence signed a bill repealing Common Core in his state but then drew the ire of anti-Common Core parent groups when he approved a “rebrand” of the unpopular reform – basically Common Core with a few tweaks.
In addition to supporting Bush and his foundation, DeVos ultimately became an at-large delegate at the Republican National Convention last year for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another supporter of Common Core.
DeVos has since angered conservative parents further by her statements that because of the new massive federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) “there isn’t any Common Core anymore” in the country’s schools. Most states, however, have continued to use the controversial standards, including those that have changed the name or “rebranded” them.
Jane Robbins, senior fellow at American Principles Project, observes at Truth in American Education, that Bush has given DeVos every reason to be proud:
DeVos … populated USED with bureaucrats from the Bush wing of education policy, including Democrat and Black Lives Matter supporter Jason Botel (since departed, after angering DeVos’s Michigan friends over that state’s ESSA plan). Conservative activists were disappointed and mystified by these choices, especially since there’s no shortage of solid, highly qualified Common Core opponents who were available.
Despite the support of Bush and Pence, DeVos’s Senate confirmation was far from smooth sailing, and ultimately required Pence as vice president to break a tie vote.