Richard Pérez Peña’s NY Times article entitled “Betsy DeVos Is Publicly Polite,But A Political Fighter” presents a stark contrast between the secretary’s public image and her real life. While she is criticized as being yielding, ill-prepared, “insulated” and even “tone-deaf,” the true backdrop of her life shows a fierce, unyielding, driven reformer.
Pérez Peña first accounts DeVos’s acquiescence to the Trump administration, which rescinded a law that uplifted the LGBT community. The law had allowed transgender and gay students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identification. It is purported that DeVos disagreed with the Trump administration and had even warned an Education Department’s transgender and gay employees representative of what was to come. One of DeVos’s aides even assured the representative that DeVos had opposed the decision.
To onlookers, it appeared DeVos held no dissidence, and DeVos, addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, claimed the previous guidelines to be“a very huge example of the Obama administration’s overreach.” Pérez Peña mentions the argument between the governmental novice DeVos and seasoned Jeff Sessions, which indubitably had some weight in her backing down and showing public agreement.
DeVos also caught fire among her critics after backing guns in schools for the purpose of fighting grizzly bears, seemingly trivializing the subject of public schools. Her allies defended the comment as a joke.
But the aforementioned blemishes don’t coincide with her extensive,reputable history as a philanthropist. Most notably, the past few decades she’s been advocating for school reform that focuses on educational choice. Because of her, Detroit alone houses more charter schools than any other U.S city.
Her advocacy seems to have begun in childhood. She grew up in Holland, Michigan, a predominantly Dutch community. She attended the Reformed Christian School and later Calvin College. The late 1800’s led to separation in the Netherlands as Reformed and Catholic groups fought public, secular schools, which limited funding to religious schools. For this, what is now known as education reform seeks the inclusion of all schools. Education reform supports all citizens having a choice of education and financial support.
DeVos’s goal is to establish vouchers and tax credits so that students from all income ranges can have a free choice in their education, which may include charters, private or religious schools. She seeks to uproot public schools altogether, which trail other developed nations even at their best. DeVos even claimed that teachers at public schools could be found just “waiting to be told what they have to do” as opposed to being proactive.
Based on her track record as a trailblazer in school reform, it seems obvious what’s more significant to Betsy DeVos. Through it all, unlike the president, DeVos claimed she never saw much need to comment on the mockery and that “the media has had its fun with me, and that’s O.K.”
For updates, follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook.