Besty DeVos, a conservative activist with strong connections in the Christian Reform community, will serve as Trump’s education secretary.
Donald Trump has broken his personal trend of appointing political outsiders loyal exclusively to him by naming Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. DeVos is one of the core conservative billionaires funding the Republican Party. DeVos's father-in-law is the co-founder of multilevel marketing empire Amway.
DeVos graduated from Calvin College, a Christian Reformed Church college which gets its name from the Protestant reformer John Calvin. The family has “deep ties” to the reformed Christian community in Michigan. She is expected to focus on education issues affecting the broader public, rather than focusing on curriculum issues such as creation and evolution, as religious right groups are focused on.
Interestingly, it seems that DeVos was not Trump's first choice for the job. That distinction is claimed by Jerry Falwell Jr., the President of Liberty University. According to Falwell, the president-elect offered him the education secretary position, but he refused it for a number of personal reasons. Trump supposedly offered him the post during their New York meeting held in the third week of November.
Falwell said it is not possible for him to work at any cabinet level job for a time greater than two years. Trump wanted from him for four to six-year commitment. It will not be possible for him to leave Liberty University for that extended period of time. He also expressed his desire to keep his family in their home, and not move his wife and 16-year-old daughter to Washington. When it comes to DeVos, Falwell believes that Trump has made an excellent choice.
Trump has made true his campaign promise to increase roles played by charter schools. The former has long championed such an educational system. The DeVos family is well known for their ardent backing of the right-wing tinge of the Republican Party. This funding of the far-right is not new. The Grand Rapids, Michigan based family has sent at least two hundred million into conservative think-tanks like Heritage Foundation and academic organizations like Collegiate Studies Institute. The latter has funded conservative publications within the college campuses.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 23, 2016
Large amounts of money were also sent to publicity shy Council on National Policy, often described by media as a club of highly powerful conservatives. The membership list of the Council included Christian right leaders like Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Robertson. A number of pro-gun and anti-tax groups also finds mention in the largesse list. Betsy DeVos and her family also spent huge amounts of money to oppose laws permitting same-sex marriages in several states. According to informed sources, the family spent in excess of $200,000 to pass the ballot referendum on anti-gay marriage.