The nomination of Betsy Devos to the cabinet of President Donald J. Trump as the new Secretary of Education involved a confirmation process unlike any the nation has witnessed in the history of American politics. Betsy Devos’ vetting process was consistently delayed by members of the Senate who were angry about the presidential election results. Instead of extending the current Secretary of Education the same courtesy that the Senate had extended former President Barack Obama, Senate democrats attempted to delay the nomination of Betsy Devos through cheap antics and unfounded accusations. Now that Betsy Devos has been confirmed as the United States Secretary of Education, it is important to compare her political history and philanthropic efforts to those of the Secretary of Education during the Obama administration to truly ascertain the Senate Democrats’ motives for delaying a cabinet confirmation process in a way that has not been attempted by senators in past elections.
Betsy Devos’ life (and the life of the members of her immediate family) has been marked by philanthropic efforts and political persuasiveness. The Devos family has reportedly given over 1 million dollars of their personal income to support efforts by the Republican party to reform public education in the United States. Betsy Devos has founded several causes and political platforms to bring reform to the Michigan Public School system and to help low-income families to gain viable options to failing public schools. Through these efforts, Betsy Devos became a supporter of charter schools and private school vouchers, two issues for which she was targeted during her confirmations. Although a large group of Michigan parents who benefited greatly from Betsy Devos’ assistance in the development of successful alternatives to public school have spoken out in support of the new Secretary of Education, senate democrats still attempted to create a narrative that Devos was not concerned about the welfare of impoverished students. By creating this narrative, democrats do not simply ignore the personal and political history of Betsy Devos, but they blatantly disregard the political history and career efforts of Arne Duncan. Read more about their foundation at dbdvfoundation.org.
Arne Duncan was the former leader of the Chicago Public School System and was confirmed by the senate less than 24 hours after President Obama’s inauguration. Like Betsy Devos, Arne Duncan was known for his support of the charter school initiative and he attempted to encourage the expansion of charter schools in the United States. Unlike Betsy Devos, Duncan faced the rebuke of both major political parties because of his belief that standardized test scores should be used as a part of evaluation methods for educators and public schools. Betsy Devos has a proven history of championing the rights of parents to choose for themselves the education that their children will receive and has been the unfair target of hypocritical allegations.