When it comes to national positions in Washington D.C., few of them are as coveted as the Secretary of Education gig. This is particularly true for people who have spent their lives focusing on reforming education and bringing about change for the future of our nation’s youth. Betsy DeVos, former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, was nominated and summarily confirmed in the first year of President Trump’s administration. DeVos didn’t make it into her post without controversy, at times struggling during her hearing, but those who have written her off already may be doing themselves a disservice. Since taking her post, DeVos has made it clear as day that she is a political fighter through-and-through.
For these national posts, the decision to hire an outsider would have raised an eyebrow in any other administration in United States political history. However, the vocal and brash Donald Trump campaigned on taking power away from lifelong politicians (‘Drain the swamp!’) and putting it into the hands of people who wouldn’t ever have gotten a chance otherwise. DeVos comes into the position looking to bring about huge reformation and she’ll have the support of President Trump at her back. Still, that doesn’t mean that things are going to be easy — but things have never been easy for DeVos and that is how she likes it.
When Betsy DeVos was coming up in Michigan’s Republican party, she found that people took her soft-speaking and calm demeanor as a sign of weakness. This, however, quickly proved not to be the case. DeVos is anything but meek and one-on-one meetings with the new Secretary of Education has proven that in spades. Mike Cox, a former state AG and committed Republican, said that he found Betsy DeVos to be “determined” and “steely” whenever she set her sights on a certain goal. He also said that she had the tendency to intimidate people in ways that had nothing to do with her massive fortune. These words of praise were echoed even by those on the other side of the political divide. Members of the most prominent teacher’s unions have also echoed the sentiment of Cox. Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers pointed out, “She comes across as personable” before saying, “But she is dangerous.”
Betsy Devos was born and raised in Holland, MI and it was there that she formed her lifelong outlook on school, faith, family, and politics. DeVos knows that she is not part of the establishment but she also is aware that she is not going to be a hack for whatever the party wants her to do (https://www.nccivitas.org/civitas-review/devos-hits-home-run-Harvard/). DeVos has already made it clear that she is in politics in order to pursue what she believes in, so there is the expectation that she will, at times, butt heads with leadership like Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions — something that already happened surrounding Trump’s controversial transgendered bathroom bill this past year.