Who will Donald Trump choose as his Education Secretary? BuzzFeed reported Monday night that the two finalists for the position are Betsy DeVos and Michelle Rhee. Both candidates met with Donald Trump over the weekend.
DeVos is in most ways a conventional choice for the position: a longtime advocate of alternatives to the public school system, with close ties to many on Capitol Hill, she is closely aligned to Republican education officials like Sen. Lamar Alexander and serves on the board of Jeb Bush’s education foundation. She is also an opponent of the Common Core education initiative, which Trump often denounced at his rallies with promises of a “repeal,” though she initially supported the standards.
But Rhee may hold a strong allure for Trump, who sometimes deviates from the Republican orthodoxy in education and has embraced controversial picks in many of his early cabinet positions.
The former chancellor of Washington, DC, public schools, Rhee is an unconventional pick. She’s a former Democrat and a polarizing firebrand who made a name for herself by fighting teachers unions and advocating fiercely for the expansion of charter schools.
June Kronholz profiled Michelle Rhee two years into her tenure as D.C. schools chancellor in a long article for Education Next.
Rhee contributed an article, “Engage Communities, But Stay Focused on Results,” to a recent forum on race and education reform
Paul Peterson reviewed the data on student gains in D.C. under Rhee’s leadership in “The Case Against Michelle Rhee: How Persuasive Is It?”
Mike Petrilli conducted an interview with Michelle Rhee for the Ed Next book club podcast.
– Education Next
UPDATE: The Washington Post reported later in the day that Michelle Rhee was taking herself out of the running to be Secretary of Education.