Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who was narrowly approved to the post earlier this year, has not exactly had a smooth time in the chaotic maelstrom of the Trump administration. Now, as reported by several media outlets, political insiders are suggesting that she’s expected to resign in the near future.
A feature over on Politico depicts DeVos as someone who has not been given as much influence over America’s education system as she would have liked. Thomas Toch, the director of an independent education think-tank, told the publication that “in Washington education circles, the conversation is already about the post-DeVos landscape, because the assumption is she won’t stay long.”
This is difficult to say with absolute certainty, and perhaps DeVos will remain as the Secretary for the foreseeable future. However, assuming this prophecy comes to pass, it’s worth going over her short and strange tenure as the head of the Department of Education.
DeVos’s primary aim appears to be to give the American public more “choice” when it comes to education, particularly involving curriculums at the state and district level. Given her pro-creationism stance – back in 2001, for example, DeVos explained that her vision of education reform was a way to “advance God’s kingdom” – this has caused plenty of teachers to voice their concern.
Most of her tenure has been overshadowed by historic and draconian budget cut proposals from the White House, which – so far – Congress has largely rebuffed. Few argue that slashing $9 billion from the department’s already strained budget is a good idea.
In addition, plenty of senior staff positions have been left unfilled since she took control, and as Politico points out, many Republicans have turned her job offers down. The Department, right now, is essentially failing to do its job.
Despite promising to "protect all students, including LGBTQ students," she also controversially voiced her support for the government's rollback of Obama-era guidance, which ordered schools to allow transgender children to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
In practice, this action allows authorities to dismiss legal cases involving this topic without any investigations taking place. Many saw it as a slight on the transgender community.
It's safe to say that much of the media’s attention has been devoted to what are essentially embarrassing errors of judgment.
Odd visions of the future of schools, unfortunate misspellings of the names of educational pioneers, a persistent lack of knowledge about the department’s previous work and abilities, and a rather peculiar connection between guns in schools and grizzly bears have all painted a picture of someone who’s clearly out of their depth.
If she were to quit early, she would leave a truly bizarre legacy behind. Watch this space.