When Donald Trump appointed Michigan Republican Betsy DeVos education secretary, the odds of her getting through the Congressional firewall for approval was questionable. But as a New York Times article points out, DeVos is a fighter. She didn’t disappoint the people who know her when the final vote to confirm her nomination came from Vice-President Mike Pence. At that time, she was the most controversial cabinet member in Trump’s administration. Most lawmakers thought DeVos would self-destruct after a few months on the job, but once again Betsy proved them wrong.
The Michigan billionaire’s first year in the education hot seat was all about reshaping the education department and defending the civil rights of students. She changed the student loan policy and she expanded the alternatives to public schools. And she began tearing down the wall between church and state when it comes to funding education. There is no doubt her agenda to increase the charter school system is her main priority. Betsy is getting some deep pocket, high-power help from the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers are throwing millions into her free-market agenda. And that means even if DeVos follows in the footsteps of other discredited cabinet members, her agenda will still be in play thanks to the Koch dynasty and their money.
Betsy is not a fan of the education department. She said the government sucks when it comes to educating kids. Her ability to push her agenda through the web of disapproval from Congress is nothing short of amazing. Her constant travel schedule and the repetitive speeches about her voucher program, and her undying belief that privatizing the public education is something the country can’t afford not to do, is impressive by anyone’s standards.
But Betsy is still a thorn in the side of Lily Eskelsen García the president of the National Education Association. Lily Eskelsen Garcia and the nation’s largest labor union want DeVos to resign. Eskelsen García calls DeVos “the queen of for-profit privatization of public education.” García is not the only one who wants DeVos to go back to Michigan and work with husband Dick DeVos, the former Amway CEO, on their version of how to spend millions to get public attention.
Betsy’s recent interview on 60 Minutes didn’t help her cause, but she doesn’t spend time thinking about what she said and how she said it on National TV. She has work to do, and she does it relentlessly. When President Trump appointed her the school safety watchdog, she took the job without hesitation. She is holding a School Summit and Climate Summit that includes educators, advocacy groups, lawmakers and parents to discuss school safety and the Obama-era discipline guidance. Her department is rescinding that guidance. The 90-minute roundtable discussion will be press free, so Betsy can hold the meeting without facing a plethora of negativity from the press. Betsy DeVos learned a valuable lesson from her 60 Minute interview, and she won’t forget it.
For updates, follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook.