Donald Trump's pick for education secretary, Betsy Devos, was approved on Tuesday (7 February) following a tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence.

But DeVos has proved to be something of a controversial choice, with no Democrats choosing to back her appointment.

Critics of DeVos say she has no experience in public education. Among the criticism, these are five of the most controversial facts about the new secretary of education.

DeVos sat on the board of a think tank that believes in loosening child labour laws.

The Action Institute wants to abolish mandatory schooling, and in a November blog post its project coordinator Joseph Sunde pondered "dismantling the range of excessive legal restrictions, minimum wage fixings, and regulations that lead our children to work less and work later".

DeVos was a board member from 1995-2005 and the charity she shares with her husband has donated at least $1.28m (£1m) to the institute.

Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos (L) prepares to testify during her confirmation hearing with former Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on 17 January 2017 in Washington DC Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

DeVos' family has donated money to anti-LGBT charities.

DeVos' family has a long history of donating money to anti-gay causes, including groups that believe in gay conversion therapy. DeVos argues she has the backing of the LGBT wing of the GOP, Log Cabin Republicans, and claims her family's views do not represent her own.

However, DeVos and her husband Dick reportedly attempted to prevent gay marriage in Michigan, contributing $200,000 of their own money to the effort, according to Michigan-based LGBT website, Pride Source.

Such views have concerned civil rights groups and was raised by Democrat Patrick Leahy during the Senate hearing.

"Mrs DeVos and her family have contributed to anti-LGBT causes and anti-women's health efforts, which are in direct conflict to the one who is supposed to lead the Department of Education," Leahy said in comments carried by Washington Blade.

"How can a nominee disagree with the mission of the Department of Education and be fit to oversee that agency and promote the civil rights of schools and college campuses?"

DeVos supports charter schools and the user of vouchers

The controversial topics have prompted fierce debate over whether an advocate of vouchers and charter schools is right for the public school system.

Vouchers allow parents to use the allocated annual budget for their child to opt out of the state school system if they wish – something its critics say takes funds of out of public education. However advocates of vouchers say it gives children in deprived areas a chance to get a better education.

Her support for charter schools – privately run state schools – has also prompted criticism as it removes funding and educational control from the state.

She has faced opposition from teachers' unions

The appointment of DeVos has prompted fierce opposition from teachers' unions, who have argued that she has no public school experience and is opposed to the state system.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) described her nomination as "a sad day for children," The Hill reported, while her aforementioned support for vouchers and charter school is viewed by many teachers as evidence of her 'attack' on public schools.

Her experience is limited

Although DeVos has been the chair of Michigan's GOP, she has not had to test her mettle in Washington DC and many of her critics believe she will be out of her depth.

At state level, her family' wealth has been a contributing factor to her success – something that may not carry as much sway in the capital.

However, Trump previously said he believes she will help "reform the US education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families."