Only hours before President Trump announced that he would revoke the policy that allowed transgender students public bathroom access in schools, Betsy DeVos had a meeting with a representative for transgender and gay employees at the Education Department. Ms. DeVos was in opposition of President Trump’s decision, but she maintained her politeness and professionalism during the official announcement.
Although Ms. DeVos has maintained professionalism since she has taken office, she is known to be a fierce political fighter in her home state. Former state attorney general Mike Cox stated “In Michigan politics, she instilled fear in a lot of people, I found Betsy to be very determined, steely, when she sets her mind on a goal.” This determination is expected to yield results, but it will take time. Ms. DeVos has no official government experience in Washington, and high ranking positions in her department were vacant when she took over, but her fierce determination and reputation to be a political fighter are attributes that will help her succeed.
Betsy DeVos was elected to her position with a 51-50 vote. The tiebreaking vote was cast by Vice President Mike Pence. Although she is new to Washington politics, Ms. DeVos is already taking great strides to improve education for children in the United States. As soon as she was elected to her position, she reached out to two major teachers unions that resulted in Ms. DeVos and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, planning to visit schools together in the near future. According to Ms. Weingarten, “There is a real tendency to underestimate her. She comes across as personable, plain-spoken, but she is dangerous.”
Ms. DeVos is implementing change by advocating for charter schools and vouchers. Ms. DeVos proposes to cut funding from public schools that will be used to create vouchers. These vouchers would be given to underprivileged children to use for payment at a religious or charter school. There are many who believe this will cause a drastic decline in the quality of education in the public school system, but Ms. DeVos and her supports feel differently. Ms. DeVos and her supporters feel that cutting funding in public schools will cause competition, so public schools will be forced to make improvements to keep up with charter schools.
Ms. DeVos was born in 1958 in Holland, Michigan. She has strong religious roots, as she was raised in the Christian Reformed Church. She attended Calvin College, which is a Christian school, located near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ms. DeVos is married to Dick DeVos. Mr. DeVos’ father is the founder of the marketing company known as Amway. The couple have four children, and they support various political, religious, and conservative groups. Ms. DeVos served as the chair for the Alliance for School Choice, and she was chair of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996-2000. Ms. DeVos is also a member of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and an advocate for charter schools.
To learn more, visit www.betsydevos.com.