Betsy DeVos, education voucher proponent and philanthropist, was approved to be appointed as President Trump’s US Secretary of Education on February 7, 2017. DeVos was one of President Trump’s more controversial appointments due to her education views. It is no secret that she is a fierce proponent of education reform. Her more virulent opponents are therefore proponents of public education and their unions. Some have wondered how well DeVos would handle the office and opponents, and the answer you receive really depends on who you ask.
Those who know DeVos more intimately, know that she is not meek. Although in public she is gracious, behind closed doors she is an intense fighter. It is true that not every woman can survive the brutal reality of a man’s world. DeVos is an exception. She has been described as relentless and driven by those who have watched her work Michigan. In many ways, DeVos is like President Trump. Both, with vast wealth at their disposal, have used it to reward allies and punish adversaries.
It is not just her wealth that set fear in the eyes of her opponents. It was also her steely-demeanor, determination and focus on accomplishing her goals. Learn more: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/interview_with_betsy_devos
Even though DeVos has no federal work experience, she brings a host of other skills to the US Office of Education. As a lobbyist, DeVos has pushed through successful institution and policy changes in her home state of Michigan through the foundation that she and her husband founded. Negotiation, research and communication skills are just a few. The tendency is to undermine DeVos because she is personable and plain-spoken. The reality is that she still accomplished numerous feats, and according to those who oppose her, this makes her dangerous.
DeVos grew up in Holland, Michigan. She was born into the conservative and wealthy Prince family. She attended private education institutions, including Calvin College. Her upbringing was traditional and highly influenced by her Dutch community where she also attended the Christian Reformed Church.
Mrs. DeVos is often accused of being anti-public school because she has lobbied to steer funds away from them and toward charters and privates. When she was questioned during her hearings, she confirmed that a parent’s choice to send their children to public schools would not be affected.
Betsy DeVos as US Secretary of Education has been a polarizing figure. It remains to be seen what she will accomplish.