Republican mega-donor and education activist Betsy DeVos met with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence this weekend at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J this Saturday. Trump and Pence also met with Michelle Rhee who was the former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor and founder and former CEO of StudentsFirst.
DeVos has been a school choice and Common Core advocate who serves as the chairperson for the American Federation for Children. She also serves on the board of directors of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the group that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush created. DeVos has been discussed as being on Trump’s short list for Secretary of Education and this meeting just fuels further speculation. Trump also recently met with Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Charter Schools. Moskowitz recently stated that she would not be interested in the position.
The readout from the Trump Transition Team said their meeting with DeVos was about “was focused on the Common Core mission, and setting higher national standards and promoting the growth of school choice across the nation.”
The Transition Team readout from Saturday’s meetings said Trump and Pence enjoyed an in-depth discussion about the future of public education in our country with Michelle Rhee. They stated that the discussion “included the possibility for increasing competition through charter and choice schools. They also brought the idea of merit pay for teachers going above and beyond in their classrooms into the conversation.”
So far Trump has only met with Common Core advocates. While discussion with these individuals also included other topics as well it is disconcerting to see.