At a recent gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference, newly-appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos discussed her new position and the goals she intends to achieve during her tenure.
DeVos, a former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman, was touted for her current position for her stance of educational issues within her state. A champion of charter schools and school choice, DeVos has worked diligently to make charter schools a more viable option for children in her state.
She, along with her husband, Amway heir, Dick DeVos, have used their massive fortunes to wield legislation in their direction. Her stance has not been without criticism. DeVos, however, looks as it as a challenge. She knows you can’t please everyone, and she has no desire to try.
While DeVos may seem polite and plainspoken, the people who know her best will tell you she’s no shrinking violet. DeVos is a fighter. She’s proved her worth in Michigan, as she fought for years to change the educational system. She also helped her husband in his unsuccessful bid to unseat former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.
DeVos grew up in Holland, Michigan. She is the daughter of billionaire industrialist Edgar Prince. Her father was also heavily involved in Michigan politics and was a major backer of causes he supported.
But despite her work in Michigan, critics say DeVos has much to learn about public schools. One of the main knocks against her is her lack of connection with plain, ordinary Americans. People complain that she knows nothing about federal financial aid, work study, or other programs that most families need to help children pay for college.
American Federation of Teachers President Randy Weingarten says DeVos is intent on destroying public schools. “It is her mission to divert as much money as she can from public schools and put it into the coffers of private schools,” said an unnamed source.
DeVos says her job is to make sure all people are educated regardless of socioeconomic background. While many of her critics are not convinced, they say they are willing to give her a chance. Weingarten has already accepted an invitation to tour D.C. area schools with Weingarten.
Former Michigan operative Greg Mcnally says that people have a tendency to underestimate her. “She is sharp and focused on what she wants.” Opposition only emboldens her.
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