Many of President Donald Trump’s cabinet appointees have been widely criticized by liberals and conservatives alike, but Betsy DeVos’s recent approval as secretary of education is arguably the most controversial cabinet secretary to win confirmation.

Prior to her nomination, DeVos’s only connection to education was, according to Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss, “[using] her extraordinary wealth to influence the conversation about education reform” as a former leader of the Michigan GOP, donor to many conservative charities, and heir to her father-in-law’s multibillion dollar company. In addition to her lack of work experience, DeVos’s biased, discriminatory approach contradicts the mission of American public schools.

DeVos’s activism in education opposes the very purpose of the Department of Education, as she has advocated for charter schools and the voucher system, an alternative system in which education is privatised. After DeVos herself attended a private Christian academy, all four of her children also went to private schools. Thus, DeVos not only has no administrative experience in public education, she has never personally crossed paths with it.

DeVos proved her knowledge on public education insufficient during her Senate hearing, when she admitted she “may have confused” critical facts pertaining to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA guarantees Free Appropriate Public Education tailored to all needs of disabled individuals. DeVos believed funding for the IDEA should be decided by states, unaware of the fact that the act specifies federal government funding.

In addition to DeVos’s threat to the rights of individuals with special needs, her philanthropic history suggests that she will oppose current views on prevalent social issues. The National Education Association affirms “equal opportunity” and “a just society” as two of its core values, as these are necessary in order to have “a great public school for every student.” DeVos’s father, Edgar Prince, was a founder of the Family Research Project, while her husband and his family have donated more than $600,000 to various organizations opposing gay marriage. With a history of supporting these discriminatory causes, there is a frightening possibility that DeVos will lead the American public school system in a similar direction such as the groups with which her family associates.

Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan stated that DeVos “promotes fervently anti-LGBT viewpoints” because of her involvement with charities promoting conversion therapy. One of these charities, called Focus on Family, even states that homosexuality is “preventable and treatable.” Aside from being widely discredited, this type of statement devalues the experiences of many young people, and it prevents them from feeling able and free to express their identity. Though DeVos has denied any involvement with such groups, her irrefutable connections to them deem her unacceptable for a public service candidate.

Following the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, many parents worry about the quality of education available to public school students. DeVos’s ignorance of the government’s work with special needs students, as well as her conservative social views, will result in greater inequality among students and deem DeVos incapable of running the American education system.

Education is our most fundamental power— imperative for any country to preserve, persist, and prosper, and any individual to reach their greatest potential, achieve their dreams, no matter where they come from, whom they love, and how able they are. Those granted jurisdiction over our education, and hence, our power and our future, must protect our integrity, our principles, our rights— everything we stand for.