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Trump’s education pick is foe of Common Core, teacher unions

President-elect Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos pose for

President-elect Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos pose for photographs at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J., on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Trump has chosen the charter school advocate as education secretary. Credit: AP / Carolyn Kaster

Cold to the Core

A Republican megadonor whose family’s Amway fortune has funded such conservative causes as curbing the power of labor unions is Trump’s choice to be secretary of education.

Betsy DeVos of Michigan is a longtime aggressive advocate for charter schools and private-school voucher programs.

She is also a declared convert against Common Core, saying the program for higher scholastic standards that made sense at first “got turned into a federalized boondoggle.” Some hard-core anti-Common Core activists are still skeptical about the depth of her opposition.

Trump called her “a brilliant and passionate education advocate” and DeVos pledged to oversee a “transformational change” in U.S. education.

She will face resistance from those, including unions, who warn such policies hurt public schools.

National Education Associated President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said DeVos “has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.”

A different look

Trump’s earlier picks for top jobs had a lot in common — they were white, male and often among his earliest supporters. On Wednesday came diversity in race, gender and the vintage of their fealty to Trump. DeVos, for example, supported Marco Rubio in the GOP primaries and then John Kasich.

A higher-profile ex-critic, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a daughter of Indian immigrants, is now Trump’s choice for his UN ambassador.

Early in the campaign, as a Rubio backer, she had called on Republicans to resist the “angriest voices” and criticized Trump’s proposed Muslim ban and slowness “to disavow the KKK.” Trump tweeted: “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley.”

See Laura Figueroa’s story for Newsday.

Carson for HUD?

Several reports Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon and onetime Trump GOP primary rival, is under consideration for secretary of housing and urban development, but a spokesman for Carson said there was no firm offer yet.

The take-away: Word game

Do you take Trump at his word?

If so, the next question has to be: which words?

They are ever-shifting. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.

Popular doesn’t cut it

It won’t change the outcome, but Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump in the popular vote, which is still be counting, passed 2 million on Wednesday.

Clinton had 64,223,958 votes to Trump’s 62,206,395 votes, according to Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. That’s four times more than the margin of the last popular vote winner who became an election loser, Al Gore in 2000.

Trump’s holiday message: Heal

In a video message on the eve of Thanksgiving, Trump said he hoped Americans would come together to “heal our divisions and move forward as one country.”

“We have just finished a long and bruising political campaign. Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight,” Trump said. But the time has come, he said, for a great national campaign to rebuild our country and to restore the full promise of America for all of our people.”

To see the video, click here.

What else is happening:

  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that if Trump pulls out of the Paris climate change accords, he would urge the mayors of 128 U.S. cities to join the agreement.
  • The Associated Press explains why five Trump business ties raise conflict of interest questions.
  • Politico counts 15 flip-flops by Trump in 15 days.
  • New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said more than $7 billion in federal aid to New York City would be at risk if Trump makes good on his proposal to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities, Newsday’s Emily Ngo reports.
  • Newt Gingrich said it would be wrong for Trump to tell the Justice Department to lay off Clinton. He also questioned whether Mitt Romney is tough enough to be secretary of state.
  • Former CIA Director David Petraeus said in a BBC interview that is willing to serve in Trump’s administration, but he’s still uncertain about the president-elect’s temperament.
  • Ivanka Trump’s fashion company said she won’t be promoting her brand any more on her personal social media channels.
  • The 1600 will be back on Monday after a holiday break. Happy Thanksgiving!


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