Quote of the Day:

After Donald Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to become education secretary, teachers union honcho Randi Weingarten tweeted: “Trump has chosen the most ideological, anti-public ed nominee since the creation of the Dept of Education.” Since what’s good for the unions is often bad for the schools, and vice versa, Ms. Weingarten’s apoplexy is reason to cheer.

–Jason Riley, Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration, tied to the teacher unions, was hostile to school choice, but ed secretary nominee Betsy DeVos has been an effective champion of school choice. She and her husband, former Amway head, helped pass Michigan's first charter school bill. DeVos is president of the American Federation for Children, which helps parents find the best school for their children.

Riley writes:

Detractors say Ms. DeVos is opposed to public education. But she told an interviewer in 2013 that her definition of educational choice includes schools of all kinds. “What we are trying to do is tear down the mindset that assigns students to a school based solely on the zip code of their family’s home,” she said. “We think of the educational choice movement as involving many parts: vouchers and tax credits, certainly, but also virtual schools, magnet schools, homeschooling, and charter schools.” In the early 1990s, Ms. DeVos and her husband, a former president of Amway, were involved in passing Michigan’s first charter-school bill.

Ms. Weingarten brings a different set of priorities to the education debate. She has fought to keep persistently failing schools open because they still provide jobs for her dues-paying members. She has fought to ensure that government officials, rather than parents, decide where a child attends school. Union influence over education policy in the U.S. is unrivaled, and Ms. Weingarten prefers it that way. Her top concern is better pay and working conditions for her members. Students don’t pay union dues.

Riley points out that education philanthropists often try to please the powerful unions; DeVos fought them. Unions support candidates who support them. DeVos supported candidates who opposed the teacher unions. The American Federation for Children this year became involved in 121 races in 12 state, winning 89% of them. DeVos can be expected to support the school voucher program in D.C. that President Obama tried to destroy for eight years.