As more Biden administration picks roll in, the future U.S. Secretary of Education remains a mystery

By: - December 7, 2020 3:52 pm

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Photo Credit: Michael Vadon.

Current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been criticized over numerous issues during the Trump administration, and many public school educators and teacher unions are excited to see her leave.

But who will replace DeVos is still a mystery.

President-elect Joe Biden has been making appointments in a variety of positions, but the top education role is apparently still in play.

On Monday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was nominated as Biden’s Secretary of Health, along with other key members of his health team.

Other picks include Janet Yellen for Secretary of the Treasury, Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State, and Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Biden is less than 50 days out from his inauguration and his anticipated pick for the next Secretary of Education has yet to be announced. It’s a major position that oversees everything from financial aid to schools across the country to early learning initiatives, among other programs.

In a written statement to the Phoenix, Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, said that: “We have no insight into the top level conversations going on right now, but any nominee with a good working knowledge of public education would be a considerable improvement over Betsy DeVos.”

Two names under consideration are closely related to national teacher unions — one being current American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. The other is Lily Eskelsen García, who stepped down as the National Education Association president earlier this past summer.

However, if either Weingarten or García are picked as Biden’s nominee, the pick could face backlash from those who are not in favor of the nationwide teacher unions. Much will depend on whether the Democrats or Republicans have control of the U.S. Senate.

Other contenders in consideration for the Secretary of Education are urban school superintendents.

The names in that category include Janice Jackson, chief of Chicago’s public schools, Sonja Brookins Santelises, head of Baltimore public schools, and Philadelphia superintendent William Hite, according to Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization that covers education.

Biden’s pick for the Education Secretary could be announced at any day, but there doesn’t appear to be a timeline for when that announcement might arrive.

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.