US Secretary of Ed: Moskowitz is Out, and Rhee is “a Long Shot.”
According to Politico on November 17, 2016, the running for US secretary of education includes the following:
Indiana Rep. Luke Messer, whose advisor (Rob Goad) Trump hired in August 2016 to help shape the Trump school choice stance. In 2014, Messer formed the Congressional School Choice Caucus. Messer is also former leader of School Choice Indiana, and he believes in portability of Title I funding.
Hoover Institute fellow Williamson Evers, who was selected to be part of the Trump transition team. Evers is a former assistant secretary of education for policy (2007-09) and was a senior adviser to US secretary of education Margaret Spellings (2007). A proponent of school choice and an opponent of Common Core, Evers as a possible Trump choice for education secretary garnered measured approval from education historian Diane Ravitch, who wrote of Evers on November 16, 2016, “I know Bill Evers. I worked with him as a member of the Koret Task Force on Education at the Hoover Institution. He is a nice guy, not a foaming-at-the-mouth ideologue. … He is a libertarian, less likely to trample local control, and less problematic than some of the other names that have been mentioned.”
Then, there is New York’s Success Academies (SA) CEO Eva Moskowitz, whom Politico reports met with Trump at Trump Tower and whom the New York Daily News reported as “not going to happen.” Indeed, on November 17, 2016, Moskowitz announced that she would not be secretary of education. (Even as I was writing this post, Politico updated its list to remove Moskowitz.)
In order to be US secretary of education, Moskowitz would have to forego her tight control over the operation of her schools, an arrangement that begs the question of what would happen to her SA empire. CEO Moskowitz is not a delegator and is not known for intentionally building shared authority in the oversight of SA schools to the extent that they would surely fare just fine if she were away in Washington.
So, no Moskowitz for ed secretary.
As for the highly controversial former DC chancellor, Michelle Rhee, Politico has her dubbed as a “long shot.” Rhee is the most toxic name on this Politico list. She accomplishes nothing except scandal and alienation.
Another name on Politico’s list is the retired president of Central Piedmont (North Carolina) Community College, Tony Zeiss, who told the Charlotte Observer on November 16, 2016, “It’s a long-shot at best, but it’s intriguing.” Zeiss has met with some members of Congress over a possible Trump cabinet post but not with Trump himself.
Finally, Politico closes out its list with a number of names, three of whom (Bennett, Robinson, and Skandera) are associated with corporate reform via Jeb Bush’s formerly-run Chiefs for Change:
Other potential candidates include: Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, now the president of the Purdue University System; Gerard Robinson a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute focused on education policy; Tony Bennett, the former Florida Commissioner of Education and the former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Hanna Skandera, the New Mexico Secretary of Education; and education activists Betsy DeVos; and Kevin Chavous.
In 2012, Gerard Robinson left his position as Florida’s state superintendent amid a “collapse” in state test scores combined with a school letter grade mix-up. Apparently Robinson was taking directions from a Jeb Bush organization regarding playing with state test score thresholds.
After Robinson abruptly resigned in Florida, former Indiana superintendent Tony Bennett took his place, but not for long: In 2013, Bennett resigned as news became public of his “intervening” in the grading of an Indiana charter school run by a prominent Republican donor.
As for Hanna Skandera: She was in her position as New Mexico “designee” state ed commissioner for four years before she received a modest confirmation vote from the New Mexico senate (22-19) despite the fact that in New Mexico, ed commissioner is supposed to be a “qualified, experienced educator.” According to the February 16, 2015, Albuquerque Journal, “Republicans said she is a qualified and experienced educator, even though she is not a licensed teacher. Skandera has been an education policy adviser in Florida, California, Texas and Washington, D.C.”
In January 2016, Skandera also slipped quietly into the role of Common Core testing consortia, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) chair. There was no press release. Trump is supposedly against Common Core. We’ll see.
On to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The February 05, 2015, Washington Post reports that Walker tried to change the mission of the state’s flagship university from “search for truth” and “improve the human condition” to ““meet the state’s workforce needs.” Walker did not openly advocate for the change in mission, instead calling the wording “a mistake” and “miscommunication.” He did, however, publicly offer to cut university system funding by $300 million over two years. Walker is a Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform follower, which has him at odds with other Republicans who see the stringent no taxes stance as a threat to Wisconsin’s infrastructure.
On November 09, 2016, Norquist tweeted that Walker’s ending forced union dues for government workers “allowed Trump to win in Wisconsin.” So, Walker is in good with Trump.
The variety in this list for Trump ed secretary only highlights the fact that the corporate reform agenda is not progressive, much to Democrat for Ed Reform (DFER) president Shavar Jeffries’ chagrin.
The last two on the Politico update list are Betsy DeVos and Kevin Chavous. These two individuals are connected.
Here is MLive’s November 16, 2016, take on DeVos and her ed sec possibilities:
Greg McNeilly, a family spokesman, declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.
DeVos, whose husband Dick unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006, is a renowned advocate — both in Michigan and nationally — for school choice and charter schools. She serves on the board of the Michigan-based Great Lakes Education Project and the Washington D.C.-based American Federation for Children (AFC) — each of which works to expand educational options for children. …
The DeVos family has long been staunch supporters of the Republican party, lavishing candidates with donations and supporting conservative causes such as school vouchers and making Michigan a right-to-work state.
“Works to expanding educational options” is the euphemism for “aggressively promotes charters and vouchers.”
DeVos is the AFC chair; Kevin Chavous sits on the AFC board.
That’s it for the November 17, 2016, Politico update on Trump’s prospective secretary of education, at least as of 3 p.m. CST.
Stay tuned, America.