During her four years as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has remained in policy lock step with the Trump administration, but there is a line DeVos refuses to cross. She tendered her resignation to President Donald Trump that takes effect Friday in a letter which outlined her department’s achievements and the reason why she is choosing to step down just before Trump’s term ends on Jan. 19 (via The New York Times).
She wrote: “…We are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protesters overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business. That behavior was unconscionable for our country. There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”
She continued, “Impressionable children are watching all of this, and they are learning from us. I believe we each have a moral obligation to exercise good judgement and model the behavior we hope they would emulate. They must know from us that America is greater than what transpired yesterday.”
DeVos called her term “the honor of a lifetime” and said she would be forever grateful for her time in service.
Betsy DeVos was a polarizing Secretary of Education
Both news and educational media outlets describe Betsy DeVos as one of the most polarizing people to have held the position. Politico describes her as a Michigan billionaire who will be remembered because her confirmation attracted wide criticism from public education advocates, and because she eventually became key to dismantling many Obama-era education initiatives. Some of her more controversial decisions include sending children back to school at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and rolling back the rights of victims of on-campus sexual assault. She has also opposed free college and student debt forgiveness (via Best Colleges).
Manhattan Institute senior fellow Max Eden told education news site Chalk Beat, “Most of her action, and most of the action of her department, has been in trying to reduce the effect of the Department of Education.” While people may find this troubling, Eden added that it’s not impossible to change, “The legacy of an administration that’s largely devoted to undoing a legacy can be undone very quickly itself.”
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