DeVos Shows a More Aggressive Demeanor in Private

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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Betsy DeVos Continues Family Charitable Tradition

The DeVos family giving tradition began with Richard and Helen DeVos. Helen, who just recently passed away, has a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids Michigan named after her. She didn’t just give money. She enjoyed visiting and reading books to the patients. Richard DeVos is the cofounder of Amway, and was still running that company when Betsy married his son, Rich, who was also working for Amway at the time. She clearly knew she was joining a family that was both successful in business and generous with their money. Helen DeVos was her mother-in-law.

 

Betsy and her husband Rich have followed in the footsteps of his parents. And they took it in their own direction after they visited a private school for low-income children, The Potter’s House in Grand Rapids. According to Betsy, the determination of the parents of the students to give their sons and daughters the best education possible even though it meant a financial sacrifice to the family deeply impressed her. She and Rich had young children at the time. She appreciated how their wealth guaranteed good educations for their children, and wanted that available for all children, regardless of family income. Therefore, The Potter House has remained one of the recipients of their giving. And, like her mother-in-law, Betsy also volunteers her time there. She has served as a volunteer tutor. She went on to become a great advocate for school choice. Those efforts have resulted in her appointment by President Donald Trump as Secretary of Education. Of course, that was a political decision based on her activities to advance the cause of school choice. However, the root of her belief in the benefits of school choice is the same dedication to improving education for children, especially the poor and middle class children whose families cannot afford private schools.

 

The Dick and Betsy Family Foundation contributes to a wide variety of causes, though education is the central theme. Some of the recipients of their generosity include The 74, an educational launched by Campbell Brown, a former anchor of CNN and Loudspeaker Media, Inc. They also supported Brown’s nonprofit organization The Partnership for Educational Justice. They gave money to Success Academy Charter Schools, which are in New York City and run by Eva Moskowitz. They support GREAAT Schools, Inc., a nonprofit management company for charter schools. Her and her husband’s foundation gave to the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and Betsy sat on their board. She recently left the American Federation for Children. And they donated to the Alliance for School Choice. And they support Christian educational groups such as: Christian Schools International, Grand Rapids Christian School Association, the Ada Christian School Society and the Rehoboth Christian School Association.

 

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