Do not mistake Betsy DeVos’ gentle public persona for weakness. When it comes to education policy, she is a force of nature.
Just prior to the federal government reversing a policy permitting transgendered students to use gender-matched restrooms, DeVos had a meeting with Education Department official representing LGBTQ employees. She gave that person a heads up, letting them know the policy change would take effect.
According to reports, DeVos wasn’t completely on board with the reversal and that message was communicated with the representative. However, she followed suit and ultimately supported the president’s decision. Whatever points she disagreed on, her sense of duty was solid.
DeVos has long been a fierce champion and support of education reform. Whether contributing millions of dollars or chairing the Michigan Republican Part, she is passionate about her beliefs. On the surface, her demeanor is classy and polite. Behind the scenes, she works tirelessly to push for families’ access to school vouchers and access to educational alternatives, such as charter schools. If that meant sizable donations, she did it. If that meant a strong counter-campaign to replace politicians that she found to have weak positions on education, she did that, too.
Although DeVos is a newcomer to national politics, she is a quick study. She knows how to network and can be persuasive, both qualities that many suggest will allow her to hold her own in a sea of old cronies. Many feel that those who immediately dismiss her will come to regret it. DeVos’ Michigan roots are wealthy, but also blue-collar and humble. Working for her father, a self-made businessman that amassed wealth from the ground up, she was never afraid of hard work. That gave her the initial foundation that will make her formidable in D.C.
Although she narrowly passed the Senate’s vote for her to become Secretary of Education, one of DeVos’ initial moves was to try and build a bipartisan bridge. She contacted the heads of the nation’s leading teacher associations in hopes of creating a dialogue and building a bridge toward understanding about education policy. It was no accident. According to associates, DeVos is highly adept at taking adverse views and finding common ground.
In fact, Michigan residents that look favorably on DeVos see a different regard on the national level. Statewide, she is viewed as a tenacious fighter for education reform. However, the nation doesn’t seem sure what to make of her yet. Despite the divergent views, DeVos’ commitment and grit probably won’t change. She will just bring her steadfast approach to Washington and bring the same dedication to the U.S. as a whole.
To learn more, visit www.betsydevos.com.