Betsy DeVos

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. File/Carolyn Kaster/AP

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has postponed her planned Sept. 11 visit to Mount Pleasant’s Laing Middle School of Science and Technology, The Post and Courier has learned.

News of the postponement comes a day after her father-in-law, billionaire Richard DeVos, who co-founded the direct-selling giant Amway, died. He was 92.

Jay Whitehair, principal at Laing Middle, confirmed her change in plans.

Late last month, word got out that DeVos was planning to visit Laing and possibly other Lowcountry schools. At Laing, she was expected to highlight its nationally recognized approach to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Laing is a public school with roots tracing back to a late-19th century Quaker educator. Nine years ago, it started to become a partial-magnet public school, one that admits students either because of their attendance zone or through a lottery process open to Charleston County residents who live east of the Cooper River.

DeVos is a longtime advocate for “school choice” initiatives, including the expansion of charter schools and vouchers that would let parents spend public money on private schools. Her deputy secretary is former S.C. Education Superintendent Mick Zais.

No follow-up date has been announced.

One local group, the Quality Education Project, had planned to protest during DeVos' visit, but it announced Friday that its “Standing Up for Public Education” press conference, town hall, and rally also would be postponed.

Paul Bowers contributed to this report.

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771. Follow him on Twitter @RobertFBehre.