When President Donald Trump selected Ms. Betsy DeVos as the new Secretary for Education, the winds of opposition instantly raged. Critics were concerned about her preparation for national leadership, her knowledge of all levels of education, and her ability to develop appropriate strategic teaching and learning goals that move American institutions forward. Having been in the Secretary seat for a little more than a month, Ms. DeVos is starting to make a mark in particular within higher education.

DeVos makes the community college rounds

On February 16th, DeVos spoke at the 2017 Community College National Legislative Summit, a gathering of community college leaders throughout the United States and beyond.

Held annually in Washington, DC, this event is led by the Association of Community College Trustees and sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges, two premier, innovative higher education organizations with a history of driving national two year educational initiatives.

During her brief comments, DeVos voiced her support for community and technical education. She reinforced their nimbleness, their entrepreneurial spirit, and their ability to provide numerous pathways that lead students to the education they need to obtain employment in their desired fields. She also reiterated elements from the POTUS' 100 day plan that emphasize the importance of expanding career, technical, and vocational education in order to meet America's growing need for a well-trained and qualified workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.

What we learned

American learned that DeVos is entering the educational arena with patience and caution. Her comments - full of positive praise for leaders listening for information about her future plan of action - were brief, broad, basic with an overarching complementary vibe.

She has yet to address any hard or challenging issue facing community colleges and/or higher education today (i.e.

- financial aid, funding, developmental education, dual credit, or faculty credentials). Of course, with less than 30 days under her belt, the expectation was low. Six months from now, the expectations for DeVos will be much higher.