Are there two Betsy Devoses? Some people seem to think so. The former Trump Administration Secretary of Education is considered an All-Star within the Republican Party. A few people tend to underestimate DeVos because she is plain-spoken with a polite demeanor. But according to many who know her personally, that would be a big mistake.
Although DeVos had a bit of a rough go during the confirmation hearings, she is hard as nails. She is a life-long Republican and the former Michigan Republican Party chair. Not only was she born into one of the wealthiest families in the state, but she also married into one even wealthier. Her husband is Richard “Dick” DeVos, heir to the Amway fortune. With immense wealth comes a great deal of power. Most who know DeVos say she knows how to wield it.
During her time in Michigan politics, DeVos and her husband were at the forefront of the school choice movement. The DeVoses were adamant that private for-profit charter schools were the way to go. In fact, due to the efforts of Betsy DeVos, Michigan currently has more charter schools than any other state in the nation.
As Education Secretary, DeVos seemed to soften her approach. While she was criticized for her handling of educational matters in her home state, DeVos was determined to prove her worth by making a number of compromises with National Teacher’s Association, among others. In the end, DeVos got mixed reviews during her tenure.
Gary Naeyaert, former head of a Michigan charter school advocacy group remarked that the criticism DeVos received was unfair. He says DeVos has made a number of strides that have brought back a sense of community and allow families to make their own choices regarding education.