U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos was recently featured in an article by The New York Times that profiled her apparent defeat in not convincing President Trump to maintain a federal policy that allows transgender students to select the school bathrooms that coincide with their gender identities. The article noted that DeVos has not publicly criticized the president for his stance on the issue or his affirmative actions to reverse President Obama’s policies on transgender bathrooms in public schools. However, it warns that DeVos should not be underestimated in remaining true to her convictions and has developed a strong reputation for being a political fighter when it comes to issues that she is passionate about.
DeVos has roots in the Michigan Republican Party and is widely recognized in that circle as a political leader who is not to be trifled with. She exerts considerable political influence over public education issues and is a strong supporter of legislators and other government officials who share her views on school choice and necessary reforms to the public education system. Although she always exudes grace and dignity when things do not necessarily go her way at first, DeVos should not be confused with a meek politician who merely goes along to get along. She simply prefers not to air all of her grievances in public and commits her time and energy to building lasting bridges on issues that matter most to her.
Her perseverance is evident from the massive growth of public charter schools in Michigan. The largest concentration of charter schools in the U.S. is now in Detroit. DeVos believes firmly in the potential of the free market and parents’ choice to seek out the best educational opportunities for their children as the most effective way to raise the overall performance of the nation’s schools. DeVos points to test scores from other schools around the world to bolster her argument that the public education system is failing students in the U.S. and needs a major overhaul.
One of the major things that sets DeVos apart from other political leaders is that she never feels the need to reduce herself to respond to criticism from the media or her opponents. She prefers to forge ahead and never shies away from political opposition. Her time in Washington has been marked so far by bold moves to cross the aisle and tackle issues with cooperation from potential opponents.
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