What will Trump's pick for education secretary mean for Washington's schools? | KUOW News and Information

What will Trump's pick for education secretary mean for Washington's schools?

Nov 23, 2016

Donald Trump's choice for his education secretary brings up big questions for Washington state.

That's the early assessment of Chris Reykdal, just elected as the state's schools chief.

Trump on Wednesday said he would nominate billionaire Betsy DeVos for his cabinet.

DeVos has supported charter schools and vouchers for students to attend private schools.

Reykdal says Trump's choice seems to conflict with his pre-election statements that states should have more freedom to run their schools.

"We'll figure out which Donald Trump philosophy emerges: The candidate who wanted the smaller role for the feds or the transition team who wants a big aggressive school privatization agenda," Reykdal said.

He said states will have to decide whether to accept federal education policy in return for getting the money that goes along with it. Washington is struggling with how to adequately pay for education under a state court order.  

Reykdal said the states face this uncertainty about the U.S. Department of Education as they write accountability plans under the federal law that replaced No Child Left Behind.

"Can the department go beyond that law” and reject states’ plans until it gets what it wants? he asked. “We're right back into this activist role for the U.S. Department of Education, potentially, and that's what we're all going to try to figure out."