When Betsy DeVos was nominated to the position of Secretary of Education by President Trump, the rest of the world shrugged their shoulders. Unlike other high-profile appointments, Betsy DeVos hadn’t yet cultivated a national image for her brand of political work. DeVos, a prominent member of the Michigan Republican Party, had spent her entire career focused single-mindedly on the role of charter schools and how they should become more prominent in America. President Trump saw something in that and decided to give Betsy DeVos her chance. Now, Betsy DeVos has to overcome the public’s tendency to underestimate her while also setting up her path to impart change on America’s educational system.
Betsy DeVos has spent the better part of the past thirty years fighting on behalf of the charter school concept. DeVos has always believed that school choice is one of the most important changes we can make in order to help our children, their education, and their future. This is a position that more and more conservatives are learning about and are willing to champion which gives Betsy DeVos a boost in the arm in terms of support.
Betsy DeVos was born in Michigan and there she was able to hone in on the things that mattered. Here friends, family, and local community acquaintances have always known Betsy DeVos as a soft-spoken and polite individual who firmly believes in what she believes. So, it is hard for these people to reconcile the new Betsy DeVos — the one that is fighting the biggest figures in national politics in order to make a difference. DeVos has always been underestimated by her opponents but that seems to be quickly changing. After getting confirmed by the Senate, Betsy DeVos put out an invitation to the major leaders of the teacher unions in America. DeVos made the first move and these unions learned that she was here to play ball, just like any other prominent political figure.
Greg McNeilly is a political operative in Michigan who has worked closely with Ms. DeVos for years. McNeilly says of her efforts, “I think she wants to have a conversation with the country about what should we expect from our schools, and about being agnostic about the form of schools.” McNeilly highlights what is essential about Betsy DeVos and her work — she is inciting a conversation that has never been had before at the national level and she is quickly proving that she belongs in that conversation.
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