Donald Trump recently signed a measure that rescinds the Obama-era policy that gave transgender students and teachers the right to use the bathroom they identify with. Before they were blindsided by the news, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of the Department of Education, met with representatives of transgender employees to inform them of the decision. She even reportedly went so far as to tell them that she opposes the president’s position on the matter.
This wouldn’t seem like a big deal to you if you have known DeVos for awhile. It is out of character, though, considering her attitude during her short tenure as secretary. So far, DeVos has been sort of a “yes man” within the Trump organization, at least publicly.
During a recent speech, DeVos said that the transgender bill that Obama signed was an overreach of the federal government’s powers. Her public position seems to waver from what she is telling her employees in private. So, what can we expect from her in the future?
To be fair, DeVos has only held the position for a few months, meaning she could become more aggressive over time as she gets more comfortable with her job and her colleagues. Those who know her best are surprised at her relatively meek manner so far as secretary. She is well known for being headstrong in fighting for what she wants in her home state of Michigan. It is important to point out that her beliefs fall in line when it comes to education fall in line with Trump on most issues.
Betsy was hand-picked by Trump as the secretary after developing a reputation fighting for charter schools and private school vouchers in her home state, both strong Republican positions. Charter schools are for-profit schools run by private organizations, while they still must follow state guidelines when it comes to education to be accredited. Vouchers would allow individuals as a sort of tax credit that allows them to use the money towards private school tuition.
DeVos was known in Grand Rapids, Michigan to be tireless in fighting for these two things. That wasn’t her only asset though, she also had her family’s opulent wealth to use as a tool. She is a member of the Prince family, one of the most wealthy and powerful families in Western Michigan. They made most of their money owning and operating the Prince Corporation, an automobile parts distribution company.
DeVos was born into a Dutch community near Holland, Michigan, a city on the coast of Lake Michigan. The Secretary was raised in a very strict Dutch Reform Christian church community, which is part of what drives her to champion school vouchers and charter schools. Heading the Prince Foundation and the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, she is also very active in the local arts community.
You may have heard of her husband, Dick DeVos, thanks to his unsuccessful run for the Republican seat of Governor in Michigan in 2006. He too comes from an extremely wealthy family. The DeVos family has ownership in Amway, the biggest mail-order retailer in the world.
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