The United States education system will see some changes but the rest will stay the same (for better or for worst). The real question is what would Betsy DeVos seek to change in the system and how would she implement it.
Kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) systems
This section of the US education system may be largely unchanged with only 10% of federal funding going into school, but she may still attempt to implement a voucher system and boost charter schools. This would hit low income areas and struggling areas the hardest.
We may be seeing attempted policies in getting rid of gun-free zones in K-12 schools because of grizzly bears (her words, not mine). She’s also against unions and federal funding for schools wanting the states and local government to be responsible for schools.
Higher Education (College and beyond) systems
Common Core: She’s against common core but she was on a pro-Common Core committee for Jeb Bush and she has lobbied against removing Common Core in Michigan. What academic standards will she put forth is up in the air.
Title IX: DeVos may not uphold the 2011 rule on college’s proactive role in preventing sexual assault. If this is the case, we may see Title IX in college handbooks and syllabi but little reinforcement or training of helping sexual assault prevention.
Cost of college: She’s against free college.
For-profit colleges: She loves charter schools and she may even remove the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that prevents for-profit colleges from predatory lending or fraud.
Vouchers: This system may also lead to schools, especially at the college level, attempting to court students with non-educational features (e.g., dorms, pools, sports arena, etc.) that may lead to even bigger problems. Also, this may benefit the upper-middle class or upper classes but may leave the other income strata behind.
Guns on campus: Yes, says DeVos. We can’t let the bears win.
Sander’s questioning DeVos: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4647844/bernie-sanders-questions-betsy-devos-trumps-appointee-secretary-education
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said her work in Michigan involved “elevating for-profit schools with no consideration of the severe harm done to traditional public schools” despite “overwhelming evidence” that charter schools were no more successful than their traditional counterparts. (Source)
We may even see her attempt to combine religion and the school system and anti-LGBTQAI stance. This would be troublesome with all progressives and even moderates. It would also be against the pluralistic nature of the United States (e.g., Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu?).
Betsy DeVos stands at the intersection of two family fortunes that helped to build the Christian right. In 1983, her father, Edgar Prince, who made his money in the auto parts business, contributed to the creation of the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as extremist because of its anti-L.G.B.T. language.
Ms. DeVos is a chip off the old block. At a 2001 gathering of conservative Christian philanthropists, she singled out education reform as a way to “advance God’s kingdom.” In an interview, she and her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., said that school choice would lead to “greater kingdom gain.”
We may even see a re-segregation of our schools: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/05/opinions/devos-racism-public-school-opinion-wong/index.html
What about privatizing schools?
Here’s the answer she gave to Senator Patty Murray:
Murray: “Can you commit to us tonight that you will not work to privatize public schools or cut a single penny from public education?”
DeVos: “Senator, thanks for that question. I look forward, if confirmed, to working with you to talk about how we address the needs of all parents and all students. And we acknowledge today that not all schools are working for the students that are assigned to them. And I’m hopeful that we can work together to find common ground and ways that we can solve those issues and empower parents to make choices on behalf of their children that are right for them.”
Murray: “I take that as not being willing to commit to not privatizing public schools or cutting money from education.”
DeVos: “I guess I wouldn’t characterize it in that way.”
DeVos’s answers to Senator Murray: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/30/here-are-betsys-devoss-answers-to-139-questions-from-democratic-sen-murray/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.b5eae633012f
I’m still trying to figure out how she’s qualified for this position of education secretary. And, what about programs such as First Five to help low incoming families? We’ll have to see in the coming years.
And, here’s a refresher on Brown versus Board of Education because it will probably come up again soon.