The Answer Sheet: Education Deans to Trump: We’re ‘Seriously Concerned’ About Your Agenda


President-elect Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos pose for photographs on Nov. 19 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

More than 175 deans of colleges and schools of education across the United States have issued a letter saying that they are “seriously concerned” about the agenda of the incoming Trump administration and urging it and Congress to protect the U.S. education system.

The letter doesn’t specifically name President-elect Donald Trump or his education secretary nominee, Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, but it is clearly aimed at policies they have espoused, including Trump’s stated intention of spending $20 billion in federal funds for block grants for states to support vouchers for children to attend private schools. Critics of that plan and other corporate school reform initiatives say that public school districts are harmed when public funds are directed elsewhere.

[What’s the worst that could happen with Betsy DeVos as education secretary? Two scenarios.

The deans offered four guiding principles for officials:

  • Uphold the role of public schools as a central institution in the strengthening of our democracy
  • Protect the human and civil rights of all children and youth, especially those from historically marginalized communities
  • Develop and implement policies, laws and reform initiatives by building on a democratic vision for public education and on sound educational research
  • Support and partner with colleges and schools of education to advance these goals.

DeVos was supposed to go have a Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 11, but it was postponed until next week because the Office of Government Ethics had not finished its review of her financial holdings and potential conflicts of interest.

Here’s the full letter:

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Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss is the Washington Post education writer.