Being a billionaire, philanthropist, and the Secretary of Education may sound like the ingredients for getting things done in Washington. But Betsy DeVos knows that’s not the case. Being in the Trump administration can feel like you are on a political island, and no one else is on the same island. Betsy DeVos mission is to make the charter school system the best education system in the world. But her opponents say she is trying to turn the school system into a capitalistic endeavor where investors reap the rewards, and the students act like lab mice. The people in Michigan know what Betsy is capable of doing. She’s a fighter that doesn’t back down. Even when the tide of public opinion is making it hard for her to do her job, she doesn’t give up and Trump, in his own curious way, is standing behind her.
There’s little doubt. The public school system needs an injection of innovation and creativity in order to produce capable minds that will be able to keep America on top of STEM initiatives that countries around the world are building their future hopes on. Betsy believes her push to make charter and private schools available to all students regardless of social status will produce the results the country needs. But not everyone thinks she knows what she’s doing. A recent 60 Minutes interview didn’t go well for DeVos. When Lesley Stahl asked her about the public schools’ performance in Michigan after her charter school program was up and running there, she couldn’t or wouldn’t answer the question. Stahl knew the public school scores were still nothing to cheer about even though DeVos claims charter schools help private schools do better in reading and math as well as other subjects.
DeVos came out fighting the day after the 60 Minutes interview. Betsy said the program’s editing didn’t do her mission justice. The court of public opinion believes DeVos doesn’t have the background or the knowledge to be an effective Education Secretary. But Betsy still has thousands of supporters who think like she does. Her supporters know DeVos is a fighter who won’t back down just because the 60 Minutes Interview was a train wreck. Her fans know she will continue to travel around the country visiting schools and giving speeches. Those visits and speeches give people hope, and they allow people to see DeVos as more than a billionaire Republican donor who, as some detractors say, bought her way into the current administration.
Her first year in office was not what DeVos thought it would be, but she believes she is making progress. And the people who work with her say the same thing. Betsy may have an image problem now, but according to a New York Times article Betsy knows how to play politics and she is good at it. She is a serious threat to the public school status quo. The media likes to make fun of Betsy. DeVos thinks that’s okay because what she is doing is bigger than one interview. But she does admit that interview did make her look unprepared to answer questions and unprepared to do her job.
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