Gutting public education? I’m not sure this the correct description, more like altering how big government will keep education centralized only in a different way.
If the federal government still has a department of education, the federal government is still in charge of it. States should control education on the broadest level but all education should be locally controlled, the U.S. Constitution has no provision for federal control.
The progressives seem to always complain about anything but more money when it comes to education. The primary reason for this is of course unions, however, from a conservative perspective, indoctrination comes to mind. Teach kids to think as individuals and not some collective behemoth this would undercut their plans to progress the country into their magic utopia where everyone is the same and individuality is bad.
The DeVos appointment signals that Trump is serious about the $20 billion school voucher plan he rolled out on the campaign trail. The proposal would redirect huge swaths of the federal education budget away from school districts and toward low-income parents, allowing them to spend a voucher at a public or private school of their choice, potentially including for-profit, virtual, and religious schools.