Since arriving in Washington, D.C., Betsy DeVos been a controversial and polarizing figure. She has been soundly criticized by her opponents. This has not been easily understood by people from Michigan who have known for DeVos for an extended period of time.
In Michigan, even DeVos’ political opponents consider her to be generous and pragmatic. They may disagree with her on some issues, but they speak highly of her abilities.
She is the daughter of wealthy parents who herself married into a very wealthy family. Her husband is the son of the founder of Amway. Her husband, Dick, ran for Governor of Michigan.
Her confirmation hearings were described by some as brutal. A good many people have editorialized that she did not do herself any favors during the confirmation hearings. She ended up being confirmed on a party-line vote, with some GOP defects that necessitated the Vice President voting to break a tie.
She has not always initially agreed with President Donald Trump when it comes to education policy issues. For example, DeVos evidently was opposed to Trump’s decision to rescind an Obama era policy regarding restroom use in public schools. The Obama Administration promulgated a rule which permitted public school students the ability to utilize the bathroom for the gender with which they personally identified.
According to Education Department insiders, DeVos attempted to dissuade Trump from making the change, and failed. Before the President made his announcement about the policy change, she reached out to her own employees, particularly to give transgender staff members a heads up Trump’s policy change.
When the President made the announcement rolling back this Obama era policy, DeVos was fully on board in public. She made an important speech in the immediate aftermath supportive of the President’s decision. She spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual event. She gave absolutely no public indication that she had ever been opposed to what the President did in regard to the public school bathroom policy and transgender students.
Directly upon being sworn in as Education Secretary, DeVos reached out to the leaders of the two major teacher’s unions in the United States. She left word that she would like to meet with them and ascertain if there was any common ground upon which they might work together on some issues. One union leader took her up on the invite, while the other took a wait and see position. Learn more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/us/politics/education-secretary-betsy-devos-donald-trump.html