In February, 2017, President Trump elected to rescind the Obama-era transgender bathroom policy. The policy was created by executive order, which allowed the President to decide on the policy without Congressional input. The bill required public schools to offer a separate bathroom for transgender students. This gender-neutral bathroom option was meant to allow transgender teenagers to feel comfortable in the school environment.
Prior to the official announcement, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met with transgender members of her department. She informed them that she had opposed rescinding the policy; however, Trump elected to side with elements in the administration that pushed for the policy’s end. To some, it seemed like a black eye for DeVos. She had been overruled in her area of authority. If the President was going to listen to someone in the administration about a public school policy, that person should be the education secretary.
Despite being overruled, people familiar with Michigan State politics admonish the Washington crowd and political spectators to not underestimate DeVos’s mettle. She has been a tough political fighter for many decades. Though classy and polite, DeVos is an able political combatant. Her history includes forcing politicians that opposed her out of office.
The education secretary became active in politics during her college years. At that time, she married Dick DeVos, who was heir to the Amway fortune. Both Mr. and Mrs. DeVos are strong believers in educational choice. Mrs. DeVos has fought for school choice reforms in Michigan and across the country. One platform she particularly believes in is school vouchers.
Throughout her political career, which included a stint at the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Policy, she has been a tireless advocate of equality in education. As a young woman in Michigan, she saw how hard working-class and poor families struggled to provide quality education for their children. Believing that all children have the right to equal educational opportunities, she has fought for the use of public money to enhance educational opportunities, including increased school choice.
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Vouchers offer families the opportunity to send their children to private schools of their choice. Most parents cannot afford to send their children to private school, even though, for many children, private schools offer the best educational opportunity. Mrs. DeVos has strongly advocated for the ability of parents to send their children to religious private schools. Vouchers, funded with tax money, provide the parents with an alternative to the public school system in their district.
Mrs. DeVos has vastly increased the use of vouchers across the country. When she sets her mind to achieve political goals, opponents need to watch out. Michigan political insiders know how hard she has fought for school choice. They expect her to continue her strong advocacy in the role of education secretary.