When Betsy DeVos was brought on board of the Trump Administration in order to take the post of Secretary of Education, many people in the political world were bemused, to say the least. DeVos didn’t come to Washington as part of a famous name or brand and she didn’t have a track record of political activism at the federal level. The decision, made by President Trump, was clear: he valued an outsiders perspective over a traditional politically fueled representative. When Donald Trump campaigned for President in 2016, he did so by claiming that he was going to drain the swamp and bring in outsiders to help run the country, citing that things had to change in Washington before it could change elsewhere. How will Betsy DeVos live up to her heightened expectations?
In order to properly assess the job that Betsy DeVos will do for President Trump, you have to take a moment to look back at her roots. DeVos was born and raised in Michigan and it was there that she focused much of her early political life. DeVos was raised on the core tenents of family values, her faith, and her pride in private education. Like many conservatives, DeVos wants to see respect for her personal life and that of other citizens by having less intervention from the government and this has largely fueled her political rise.
Betsy DeVos would leave Holland, MI where she was born and raised in order to attend Calvin College. At Calvin College, DeVos would work hard to study and hone her political edge by learning from the writings of Milton Friedman. Friedman was one of the initial advocates of school choice and it was from his work that DeVos would take the core ideas that she would use to fuel her rise in the conservative party. After graduating college, DeVos knew that she couldn’t sit idly by and stay on the sidelines while the educational field fell apart in front of her. So, DeVos decided to take what she had learned and put it to real use.
DeVos would come out of college ready to work and she quickly established herself as a school choice champion. DeVos has done this by creating several philanthropic foundations in order to raise funds and raise support for more school choice institutions in the country. Since beginning her work to spread school choice awareness, there have been 17 states to adopt the model featuring 33 schools that are teaching more than 250,000 students. With this kind of success at the private level, it only makes sense that DeVos will have success when operating at the federal level.
Despite Betsy DeVos being a popular member of the conservative party, she has repeatedly made a point to clarify that she will stand up for what she believes in regardless of which side of the party line it falls. This was made clear when she stood up to President Trump’s decision to rescind a federal policy that protected transgendered students at school. DeVos went against President Trump’s decision but she still respected the platform which is indicative of a strong conservative who still respects her own personal values.
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