President Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on Saturday that the federal cabinet-level department she headed up should be abolished.
DeVos was addressing a “Mom for Liberty” conference in Tampa when she said the Department of Education should be dissolved so that all education policies can be established by local school boards according to state law. She said, “I personally think the Department of Education should not exist.”
DeVos told the group that the teachers unions have become a “K-12 cartel” directing the actions of the Department of Education.
Moms for Liberty is a parental rights organization that advocates for parents’ right to control educational decisions at all levels of government. It was established in Florida by parents who opposed COVID-19 school restrictions, including masking mandates for children.
The Tampa meeting was a three-day event designed to prepare members from 30 states around the nation to elect conservatives to local school boards. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also addressed the summit.
When DeVos served during the Trump administration, she was consistently blasted by Democrats and teachers unions for her positions in favor of vouchers and school choice.
Since leaving the education department, she has criticized the Biden administration’s efforts to further federalize education policy. She said that parents have become more upset with the loss of control over their children’s education.
The Department of Education launched the National Parents and Families Engagement Council this month with the stated purpose of discovering “constructive ways to help families engage at the local level.”
The new council is expected to manage “listening sessions” to determine what schools should do to help children recover from educational setbacks during the pandemic. The council appears to be an effort by the Biden administration to create a greater image of local and parental involvement.
In addition to harmful pandemic restrictions largely directed by teachers unions, parents nationwide have become more vocal in opposing “woke” progressive curriculums and teaching methods associated with genderism and critical race theory.
DeVos’ support for school choice while serving as secretary was criticized by some conservatives as being too reliant on federal funding and oversight.
Heritage Foundation Center for Education Policy director Lindsey Burke said that a “federal tax-credit scholarship program” would allow for greater federal regulation of local education decisions. She argued that could lead to federal control of “testing, reporting, academic content, and even bathroom policies.”