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Donald Trump’s Huge, Ambitious School Voucher Plan, Explained

When Donald Trump set out to pick the next education secretary, he faced a stark choice. He could choose an insider who had shaped education policy for a state or large school district. Or he could bring in an outsider — someone who views traditional public schools as a failed system in need of dismantling.

He picked an outsider.

Unlike most of her predecessors, Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for education secretary, has never taught in a public school or college, run a school district or public university, served on a school board, or shaped state education policy. DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist, instead made her name as an advocate for school vouchers — the idea of letting students use public money to attend private schools.

Together, DeVos and Trump want to oversee the biggest change to American public education in half a century. Trump’s plan for his first 100 days includes a $20 billion federal voucher program for children living in poverty, a program he’d likely pay for by dismantling the biggest existing system of federal support for public schools.