Betsy DeVos has had a rough ride on the way to becoming Secretary of Education within President Trump’s cabinet. Arriving at Washington with no prior experience in government, she took on a position that has largely vacant upper ranks.
Betsy DeVos won this position with a tiebreaking vote to Mike Pence. In her Senate confirmation hearings, she gave uncertain answers to questions in regards to federal laws and educational policies. Her suggestion on carrying guns in case of grizzly bear attacks made her the laughing target for TV comedy shows.
The public reaction and portraying of her as ignorant has made her largely uncomfortable — something she didn’t show in public. In contrast to President Trump, she shrugged off public mockery and even made a few jokes about it herself.
Her first actions in her new position were to call two teacher union’s leaders — Ms. Weingarten and Lily Eskelsen Garcia. For now, she has only visited schools together with Ms. Weingarten.
Ms. DeVos was chosen by Trump for the position because of her advocacy of private schools and funding for them. She has fought hard in steering tax dollars toward charter schools. Her ideological focus for this is the belief that every parent should have the chance of sending their child to a private school without concerns for their financial income.
Because of her efforts, Detroit has the highest number of charter schools in the nation. It is understandable — the public schools in Detroit are deemed the worst in the country. Although she showed acceptance of public schools in her confirmation hearings, once she stepped into office, she criticized teachers in public schools for being too inactive — thus reinforcing the fears that she is still hostile towards the public school system.
Another instance of her political politeness that does not show her true intentions is the rescinded federal policy for transgender school bathrooms. During the Conservative Political Action Conference, she called the policy “a very huge example of the Obama administration’s overreach.”
Earlier, she met with a representative of the transgender and gay employees at the Educational Department to warn of what was coming. Clearly, she is only siding with the Trump administration decision publically.
Those who have observed Betsy DeVos throughout the years, know that she can be easily underestimated. Although she is politically polite, she is a fierce political fighter that knows how to play the game of power and get her way at all costs.
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