On January 1, 2017, The Philadelphia Inquirer published an article by Aubrey Whelan about the appointment of the U.S. Secretary of Education. The article cited PennCAN’s Executive Director:
At PennCAN, a statewide education advocacy organization that skews pro-charter and pro-school choice, executive director Jonathan Cetel said he believes DeVos is “a principled believer in giving all kids options.”
“I absolutely believe she believes in improving public education,” he said. “The folks who say otherwise have a very narrow definition of public education.”
He said some of the criticism surrounding DeVos was overhyped — supporting charter schools and school choice are not positions outside the mainstream, he said. “Her philanthropic mission is great charter schools and school choice, two policy pillars we believe in,” he said, and added he hoped the nominee could “leverage the power of the office” to advocate for them.
Still, he said, he has some reservations about the nominee – Michigan’s charter schools, he said, are not the model he wants Pennsylvania’s to follow.
And while he called the grizzly bear quip was a “gotcha question,” DeVos stumbled in other responses, Cetel said.
“She’s a philanthropist and not a policy wonk and that came through very clearly in the hearing,” he said. “She has a steep learning curve to get proficient on these complex issues.”
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