President Trump’s move to rescind a mandate that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity seemed to be unchallenged. In fact, that’s not entirely true. While she didn’t publicly oppose the president’s order, Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, worked behind the scenes to assist the transgender community.
Betsy DeVos Met with Community Leaders
Ms. DeVos was quietly working to warn gay and transgender employees of the coming move from President Trump, holding meetings with representatives at the Department of Education. Although the education secretary didn’t make an public opposition to President Trump, she worked tirelessly to oppose the rescinding of the act. An aide working with Betsy said that she was disappointed that her efforts failed to stop the new policy on transgender bathroom use.
Ultimately, DeVos was compelled to join Thursday’s press conference in which the official announcement was made. At that time, she made a public endorsement of the new policy, charging former president Barrack Obama with overreaching the authority of his administration.
While this series of events may make Betsy DeVos seem mild and reserved, those who know her warn not to underestimate her. In her home state of Michigan, where she was a Republican Party chairwoman, Betsy earned a reputation for being fierce and strong. She often works behind the scenes to get her agendas passed and to unseat those who opposed her in public.
“In Michigan politics, she instilled fear in a lot of people, and it’s not just because she’s a billionaire,” said republican Mike Cox, who is also the former state attorney general. “I found Betsy to be very determined, steely, when she sets her mind on a goal.”
Betsy DeVos is as Pragmatic and Generous as She is Fierce and Bold
While some people, like Mike Cox, may be wary of facing off against Betsy on the floor, there’s no denying that she’s also committed to providing a fair educational system that can benefit everyone. Betsy DeVos has used her position to expand the opportunities for charter schools, a growing trend in the public school system. Additionally, she helped to revamp how vouchers are used, so students could apply them to help pay for private or religious school tuitions.
Critics are concerned that Betsy DeVos, a billionaire herself, is too out of touch to do what’s best for the public education system. They suggest her policies in regard to the separation of church and state in particularly may end up damaging the system she’s sworn to protect. Others, like Gary Naeyaert, the former director of an advocacy group for charter schools, suggest those critics are getting bent out of shape prematurely. While Betsy’s reputation precedes her, Naeyaert recommends waiting to see how Ms. DeVos acts and what she says publicly, before judging her based upon rumor and reputation.
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