Trump’s Secretary of Education Short List

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Who will run the U.S. Department of Education in Trump’s administration?

During the Presidential transition the President-Elect starts to put together his administration, and many wonder who President-Elect Donald Trump will appoint to become the Secretary of Education. Who he appoints will send a signal of whether it will be business as usual or if he means business when it comes to shrinking the federal role in education.

Outside of hoping he appoints no one (I’m not sure that’s a great idea while the U.S. Department of Education still exists). Here are some names that are floating out there.

The New York Times reports (Politico echoes this):

WFYI in Indianapolis said that at a Education Writers Forum held in DC on Monday these names were being thrown around by Vic Klatt, a principal of Penn Hill Group and former GOP staff director for the U.S. House Committee on Education.

  • Tony Bennett – ousted Indiana Superintendent of Public Education who later resigned as Florida Commissioner of Education after being investigated for fraud.
  • Congressman Luke Messer (R-Indiana) – serves on the House Education & Workforce Committee

Alyson Klein at Education Week speculated:

  • the list above and then adds Gerard Robinson who served as a Florida Education Commissioner and former Virginia Secretary of Education. Robinson currently serves on Trump’s transition team. He has also been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Brett Baier of Fox News floated these two names other than Carson:

  • Eva Moskowitz – the CEO and Founder of Success Academy Charter Schools
  • Michelle Rhee – Founder of Students First, former Chancellor of Washington, DC Public Schools

I wouldn’t know what to expect from a Secretary Carson. While he is a nice man, I think he would be out of his depth at the U.S. Department of Education. A Tony Bennett appointment would send all of the wrong signals that status quo will be maintained. I couldn’t take Trump seriously when he says he is against Common Core if he appoints a pro-Common Core advocate who lost his election in Indiana largely because of that support.

I don’t know much about Congressman Messer other than he is part of the committee that helped usher in the Every Student Succeeds Act and was a vocal advocate for it. No thank you.

Gerard Robinson’s time in Florida was marred with controversy when FCAT scores collapsed. He is also part of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change. He isn’t the person I would be looking for.

Eva Moskovitz’s involvement with charter schools and the fact she’s liberal would sink her potential nomination as she would take flak from both sides of the aisle. Michelle Rhee pushes corporate school reform and is against parental assessment opt-outs, not to mention, is pro-Common Core. Yeah… no thanks.

I think the best candidate for the job would be Williamson Evers, who has been a staunch critic of the Common Core State Standards and its aligned assessments. I hope that he gets the appointment, and he has prior experience with the U.S. Department of Education which would be an asset I would think.

Perhaps under a Trump administration Evers will be the Secretary of Education who padlocks the front doors of a closed U.S. Department of Education, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that.

Update: Additional names added to the rumor mill. I want to emphasize these are just rumored to be on the list.

  • Tony Zeiss, a former president of Central Piedmont Community College
  • Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, now the president of the Purdue University System.
  • Governor Scott Walker (R-WI)
  • Hanna Skandera, the New Mexico Secretary of Education
  • Education activist Betsy DeVos
  • Education activist Kevin Chavous
  • Larry Arn, President of Hillsdale College

Out of these names, Dr. Arn is the only one I could get excited about. I don’t know anything about Zeiss, Daniels supported Common Core so no thanks.

Walker is a mixed bag. On one hand he was weak when it came to repealing Common Core on the other hand he could work to scale the department back. Too many question marks. Ms. Skandera is a supporter of Common Core.

I don’t know anything about Kevin Chavous, but I don’t think appointing an activist is the right way to go. Betsy DeVos… hell no.

4 thoughts on “Trump’s Secretary of Education Short List

  1. This is a letter I wrote to my new Congressman. Please urge all to write to anyone who may have influence on the Transition Team!

    Dear Congressman-Elect, Rooney,

    The genius and success of America has flowed from the focus on individual choice and individual responsibility. The American Dream you and I have both enjoyed must be preserved. Factory style education led by corporate elite who view people as “human capital” has been in place in America since the late 1980’s and has accelerated with “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” Now the ESSA leaves little wiggle room and no local control for the States and the People, who are, by the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, in control of Education.

    The genesis of the battle for the hearts and minds of our children lies in this very question. Who should control the thoughts of our children, the government, or their parents? Our founding fathers and great leaders knew the dangers of government controlled education. Abe Lincoln said “The philosophy in the schoolroom in one generation is the philosophy of the government in the next.”

    The beauty of our Republic (not Democracy) is that it empowers the individual over the government. It stimulates individual action and individual success through the idea that people can use their individual talents and efforts to better their future and keep the fruits of their labors. The more government controls what individuals must learn and what they can keep, the less freedom we have to unleash the potential of each human being with unique aspirations and talents.

    If we are truly to succeed in the critical task of making the US number one once again. We need to have leaders who want to REDUCE or eliminate, not INCREASE federal involvement. National standards have NOT increased learning in the United States. In fact, the absence of national standards and reliance on individual standards was the system which produced our founding fathers and fueled the engine of America which made us the greatest nation ever to exist. Our literacy rates today are lower than in the mid 1800’s. Before national standards were in place (1993) and before Outcome Based Education was promoted by Mr. Bloom, we had better results. Factory style education from a central government promotes government control and allows propaganda.

    Please look at this diagram of election results for 18-25 year olds to see that we are in deep trouble now as a result of “statist” control of education. (picture didn’t come through that depicts a nearly complete sweep by Democrats)

    This is a pivotal time and I hope you will use your new vote as the “voice of the people” of Southwest Florida to express our deep concerns on the issue of the Department of Education and the people selected to carry out President Elect, Trump’s, stated goals to end Common Core and restore local control. I have communicated with leaders on this issue nationwide and find there is a disturbing lack of communication with those making this decision. It seems that most names floated and involved so far have connections with the “rebranding” or Foundation for Excellence in Education, a front group for Common Core. This is a natural and expected attempt by the wolves in sheep’s clothing to grab the reins of power and continue their globalist elite management of the “human capital” in their one world vision.

    Please help us to communicate our concerns to the Transition Team. You told me you would use your connections and your voice to end Common Core. Now is the time. Help us, national leaders in the local control movement, to have a seat at the table and present leaders who share our values. We would like to meet with you right away as the decision about leadership of the USDOE is being made as I write.

    Warm Regards,

    Chris Quackenbush
    239-823-2980
    Stop Common Core Florida
    http://www.stopcommoncorefl.com
    https://www.facebook.com/StopCommonCoreFl

  2. Dr. Larry Arnn- Hillsdale College would be AWESOME!! WOW- that would be a shocker to Liberal Elites.

  3. Dr Arnn’s knowledge and promotion of the Constitution is what is needed in our educational system. He is the best candidate to restore the principals that our country has lost. He also has created K+12 charted school curriculum in a few states. (Approx 20+ schools). His vision for education is desperately needed..Go to Hillsdale .edu and see what he has accomplihed.

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