Despite robust opposition, Betsy DeVos became U.S. Secretary of Education Tuesday, thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.
The opposition was surprising, in part, because the secretary of education doesn't wield all that much power. In broad terms, education is largely a local issue. States and school districts provide most of the money and make most of the rules.
But that doesn't mean the federal government is powerless. The Obama administration used financial incentives and the bully pulpit to endorse school turnaround models, ramp up teacher evaluation, and advance civil rights issues.
So what can Betsy DeVos actually do in her Cabinet post? And how might those actions trickle down to local schools?
Or, to put it another way, after all of that impassioned debate, what happens next?