Part III of III.
Part I and Part II of this series, respectively, focused on what the job, Secretary of Education, is and what skills, knowledge, experience and abilities a recruiter might look for in a qualified candidate. The final part of this series focus’ on Ms. DeVos’s qualifications for this role and ultimately my conclusions on her fit for the job.
Upon review of her credentials, it is without a doubt that I state that Betsy DeVos is not qualified for the role of Secretary of Education. Further, had her resume come across my inbox, I wouldn’t have even scheduled a phone screen let alone recommended her for a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager.
Ms. DeVos’s website, betsydevos.com, provides some insight into this candidate’s past professional experience and is my primary source for the following information.
- Education credentials: Ms DeVos has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College, a private school, in Grand Rapids, MI. Calvin College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Though Calvin College does have an education program, her Bachelor’s degree is in business administration and political science. Not Education or Public Policy.
- Direct and relevant experience: Ms. DeVos has zero instruction experience. Zero years of instructing any student whether that be in public or private school; primary, secondary or college.
- Experience serving in a public or private education administration role: Betsy DeVos has not served in an administration role, ever.
- Experience in educational public policy. Kinda? Here are my findings. Ms. DeVos’s website states that she serves on a number of national and state boards, including Board Member for the Foundation for Excellence in Education from 2012- present. However a search of the foundation’s website comes up with zero results for Ms. DeVos’s work on this foundation. However, The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation is listed as a 2016 donor and 2015 donor in the $50,001-$100,000 donation range. Other Board positions Ms. DeVos has formerly or currently sits on that hold educational reform as part of their mission include the American Federation for Children, Alliance for School Choice, Great Lakes Education Project and The Potter’s House School. Clearly, Ms. DeVos has a vested interest in education as evidenced by the charitable foundations she is associated with. However, when one peels back the layers, you will see that her interest is very narrowly focused on school choice- this is the primary mission of these organizations. One might question her ability to arbitrarily review empirical facts about the state of education if one has spent a ton of money and time serving one cause.
- Former or current state Board of Education member. Ms. DeVos has never served on a Board of Education for any public of private school system.
- Experience managing a large team of professional employees. Ms. DeVos is listed as Chairman of the Windquest Group, a privately held investment and management firm with a diversified consumer product and service portfolio. The Windquest Group appears to be in the business of investing in innovative start-ups. None of these companies, per Windquest’s website, have any relationship with education, educational technology, etc…Further, there is no evidence that Ms. DeVos manages a large staff in her role as Chairman.
- Experience managing a large budget. There is no evidence that Ms. DeVos manages a large budget in her role as Chairman at the Windquest Group. One may presume that as a Chairman or a Board Member that she had oversight of budgets in her roles, but there is no evidence that she had the sole responsibility of a multi-million dollar budget.
- Experience managing a debt portfolio in the trillions. Ms. DeVos’s previous experience does not provide any evidence of having had responsibility for a large debt portfolio. Rather, it seems her and her family have only enjoyed managing financial surpluses.