Betsy DeVos: Publicly Polite, But A Political Fighter With The Best Of Them

In February 2017, newly-minted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had an important task at hand: she was meeting with a representative for gay and transgender individuals at the U.S. Department of Education to alert them to the fact that President Trump had just rescinded the law allowing for transgender individuals to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Privately, DeVos did not support the move, but publicly she showed no inkling whatsoever of there being any discord in Trump’s cabinet. While this led to several unfair portrayals of her being a meek team player, those who know the DeVoses well in Michigan know that she is anything but that. “She instilled fear in a lot of people, and it wasn’t just because she’s a billionaire,” Mike Cox, former Republican Michigan Attorney General said. “I found Betsy to be very determined, steely, when she sets her mind on a goal.”


For more than three decades now, Betsy DeVos has fought to give charter schools an equal footing with public schools. One of the things that has spurred her on would be her belief that even poor parents should have the choice to send their kids to better schools. Simply put she believes that a good charter school will not only provide a solid education to children with limited means, but it will also force public schools to do better as well. In this case, she believes competition is a good thing. She also uses the Detroit public school system as a class example. She notes that it is a disaster and that the charter schools are doing much better. To wit, she thinks that the Detroit public school system should simply be shut down.


Besides her ardent belief in free market choices in education for all choices, she also believes in working together with whomever she can to accomplish her goals. That is one of the reasons why she recently visited a number of Miami charter schools with the rapper Pit Bull. They spoke together at a charter school in PitBull’s hometown of Miami called SLAM! Charter School in which PitBull was a celebrity founder of. Miami’s SLAM Charter School is devoted to students in 6th through 12th grade and is focused not only on student achievement but also on sports leadership and management. PitBull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, has actually started a number of charter schools even though he has been harshly criticized by his opponents for his rough rap lyrics. On the surface, it would appear that Betsy DeVos would not have much in common with PitBull, but they share a love for expanding on the School Choice movement. As Education Secretary, DeVos knows that she take any kind of asset she can.


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