Unlike some of President Trump’s more obscure department-head selections, Betsy DeVos was widely known (and mostly admired) when she was chosen to lead the Department of Education. And now, as the halfway point of President Trump’s first term approaches, it’s safe to say that Mrs. DeVos’s notoriety and prior experience have only enhanced and benefitted her performance as the architect of America’s educational landscape.
A Michigan politician, education reformer, and school-choice advocate, Mrs. DeVos has tirelessly supported measures, bills, and statutes that aim to decrease the number of regulations that public and private schools are subjected to. Her efforts have produced considerable results, as Michigan’s secondary education institutions have apparently diversified and evolved over the last two decades. More importantly, this diversification and evolutionary process has been largely positive, according to public opinion polls and the educational achievements of students.
In short, Betsy DeVos could easily be the most qualified appointment to the Secretary of Education position since the Department of Education was established in 1979. In many ways, she’s been responsible for molding Michigan’s educational culture, and finding someone with as much or more educational experience would be challenging to say the least. Furthermore, that she believes in less overall regulation in education from the state and federal governments seems to perfectly align her with President Trump’s generally non-regulatory opinions.
That isn’t to say that Betsy DeVos is more committed to agreeing with her boss than she is to voicing her beliefs. On the contrary, Mrs. DeVos has demonstrated that while she’s willing to give her all to enacting policy matters she agrees with, she won’s hesitate to attempt to change President Trump’s opinions on issues that she feels strongly—and differently—about.
Such was the case when President Trump called for the near-elimination of federal regulations that instructed schools on how to handle transgender bathrooms (the measures were installed during the Obama administration). Mrs. DeVos called the president, voiced her side of the argument—in favor of leaving the regulations and instructions in-place—and waited. Ultimately, the regulations were rescinded. But few could discredit DeVos for her effort to align federal policy with her views.
It’s refreshing to see someone in Washington fight for personal beliefs and the common good, as Mrs. DeVos does. And whether one agrees with her opinions or not, it’d be difficult to claim that she acts with anything less than the best of intentions when she tries to make a difference in education.
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