Many people in Betsy DeVos’s home state of Michigan were rooting for her when when it was announced that she was nominated as Education Secretary for the Trump Administration. But the road has been rocky to say the least. Beginning with her confirmation hearing DeVos had a few missteps. Many were holding their breath to see if she would get enough votes to be approved. She was approved by a razor edge vote of 51-50.
But regardless of what you may think about DeVos, even her critics say she’s there to learn. While she may come off as plain-spoken, her foes are urged not to take her for granted. “She’s a fighter,” says former Michigan state attorney general Mike Cox. “A lot of people don’t seem to understand that she wields a lot of power.”
DeVos and her husband, Dick DeVos, heir to the Amway fortune, have a lot of political clout. Mrs. DeVos was born in Holland, Michigan to ultra-wealthy billionaire industrialist Edgar Prince. She married into an even wealthier family with the DeVoses. The family has money to steer legislation in their favor. They have a long history of favoring allies and punishing political foes.
DeVos made her bones on school choice in the state of Michigan. She and her husband are huge supporters of charter schools and voucher programs. DeVos has expressed her belief in children of all socioeconomic backgrounds receiving a good education. But her critics say she is destroying education in Michigan.
Randi Weingarten, President of the National Association of Teachers says DeVos is doing everything she can to destroy public schools. Betsy DeVos vehemently denies this, saying that charter schools have a right to receive a share of funding. The problem with the charter schools is, according to the latest data, are failing miserably.
DeVos’s critics say the schools are running amuck with no one at the wheel. The schools are all for-profit and there is very little oversight. In fact, the Detroit public schools are also continuing to flounder. Both the Michigan charter and public schools are among the worst in the nation.
Some don’t have a lot of confidence that DeVos can do much in terms of turning education around. When using the measuring stick of what is happening in her home state, most people believe not much will change.
But one of her first orders of duty after her nomination was to reach out to Weingarten. They plan to tour area D.C. schools in the near future.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.