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Betsy DeVos Maintains Professionalism but Will Hold her Ground May 14, 2018

Betsy DeVos met with a representative for transgender and gay employees at the Education Department to warn that President Trump was going to rescind the policy that allowed transgender students to use the restroom that matched the gender they identified with. Although Ms. DeVos was in opposition of President Trump’s decision, she maintained professionalism during the announcement.

 

Although Ms. DeVos efforts to keep the policy in place failed, she is known in her home state to be a political fighter. Ms. DeVos came to Washington with no official experience inside the government, and the department she came to was primarily vacant in high ranking positions. She was in support of transgender restroom access in the public schools, but her opponent was Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Sessions has decades of experience in Washington politics, and he is also known to have close ties to President Trump.

 

Ms. DeVos lost the argument for transgender bathroom access in public schools, but her supporters and critics expect her to succeed once she is accustomed to Washington politics. When Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, was asked about Ms. DeVos, he stated “There is a real tendency to underestimate her. She comes across as personable, plain-spoken, but she is dangerous.” Ms. DeVos was voted into her position with a 51-50 vote, and Vice President Mike Pence cast the tiebreaking vote.

 

One of her first moves in her new position was considered a smart one. She reached out to leaders from two major teachers unions. As a result, Ms. DeVos and Ms. Weingarten (from the National Education Association) are planning to visit schools together in the near future.

 

Ms. DeVos has recently faced criticism about her ideas for educational change. Although critics feel taking money from the public school system is the wrong move, Ms. DeVos feels the competition with charter schools will force the public school system to make necessary improvements. Although critics feel this will cause a decline in the quality of education among public school students, supporters believe it will give underprivileged children the opportunity to attend religious or charter schools through vouchers created with funds that were taken from the public school system.

 

When Ms. DeVos was asked how she feels about her critics, she stated “The media has had its fun with me, and that’s O.K.” According to those close to Ms. DeVos, she does get annoyed when she is perceived as an idiot, but she shrugs off criticism and has even made a joke about it during a meeting with the Education Department.

 

Ms. DeVos was raised in the Christian Reform Church in Holland, Michigan. Ms. DeVos attended Calvin College, which is a Christian school located close to Grand Rapids. She is married to Dick DeVos, and the couple have four children together. The couple has supported a wide range of conservative, religious, and political causes. In addition, Ms. DeVos served as the Republican National Committeewoman from 1992 to 1997.

 

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Categories Politics