A key Senate committee voted Tuesday to approve the nomination of Betsy DeVos, a school choice activist and billionaire Republican donor, to be secretary of education, despite the fierce objections of Senate Democrats, teachers' unions and others. There's much speculation as to exactly how she might carry out President Trump's stated priority of increasing school choice.
A significant clue comes from the American Federation for Children, the advocacy organization that DeVos chaired until she was nominated. AFC supports publicly funded charter schools and, even more so, "private school choice" — publicly sponsored programs that give families money to spend on tuition at private schools.
Last fall, AFC issued a report ranking the existing private school choice programs. There are 50 of them, located in 25 states and Washington, D.C., by AFC's count. The organization included only those programs that explicitly allow students to attend religious schools. DeVos, whose family has long supported causes associated with the Christian religious right, has publicly called education reform a way to "advance God's kingdom."