With few public education experience, how did Betsy DeVos get the Department of Education position? Despite the support of the Senate, the education secretary’s selection is more controversial than most recent picks. It is unclear whether or not DeVos’ ties to public education are related to her current job. But it does seem that she is highly qualified to lead the department.
Betsy DeVos’ early interest in education began with her mother, a public school teacher, and continued to grow when she enrolled her own children. Seeing firsthand that not every child has the same opportunities, DeVos began to fight for more educational options and increased parental choices. Today, DeVos has worked to empower parents and implement new educational choices in 25 states.
However, the lack of background in education was one of her greatest challenges. After her nomination, there was plenty of negative news coverage, and two prominent Republicans defected to Vice President Pence in order to confirm her. DeVos also faced stiff opposition when it came to budget cuts, which slashed funding for many programs, including public education. Then, on her first day, she walked through the floors of the Education Department and met every employee. She also received plaudits from a surprising source, The Washington Post.
While DeVos’ ties to public education are not completely ambiguous, the fact that she attended a Christian liberal arts college (Calvin College) suggests that her values are grounded in her faith. The college also says DeVos’ commitment to advancing the kingdom of God in her education decisions is consistent with her Christian beliefs. Indeed, her religious beliefs, which were forged during her college days, have made her a dependable foil for her rivals.