Diane Ravitch, a respected education professor who held senior roles in the Department of Education in both Republican and Democratic administrations, is no fan of DeVos. In an open letter to her former boss, Senator Lamar Alexander, who now chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, she said DeVos would be "the first Secretary of Education in our history to be hostile to public education."
She writes, "Now you are in a position of selecting a new Secretary of Education. I watched the hearings, and it was evident to all but the most extreme partisans that Ms. DeVos is unqualified, unprepared, and unfit for the responsibility of running this important agency.....Her lack of experience leaves her ill-equipped to address the needs of the vast majority of American schools....At least 85 percent of American school children attend public schools. She has no ideas about how to improve public schools. Her only idea is that students should enroll in non-public schools."
She also cites statistics showing that DeVos's influence on Michigan schools is hardly a model for our nation. After embracing her approach to school choice, Michigan has gone from 28th to 41st in fourth-grade reading and dropped from 27th to 42nd in fourth-grade math. Eighty percent of charter schools in Michigan are run by for-profit companies, who make more than $1 billion a year, operate without accountability or transparency, and do not show better results than public schools.