Betsy DeVos: McAuliffe gaffe and COVID closings spark pro-parent school movement | #Education

Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos deserves a bureaucratic Purple Heart. Maybe two.
One for overcoming the hatred ginned up against her by the nation’s teachers unions and liberal politicians before she was even confirmed in 2017. The other for taking on a Department of Education permanent staff set against her policies and a White House that did little to help her.
“I was under attack immediately. I’d had many years of hand-to-hand combat with the teachers unions in Michigan,” she said of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. “I was a known quantity to them, and they were not happy with that prospect of my being in their department.”
She said the unions forced her Democratic friends to vote against her, leading Vice President Mike Pence to break a 50-50 tie.
She recalls in her new book, Hostages No More, to be released Tuesday, that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who she had worked with to improve Newark schools, voted against her with a simple thumbs down. “Very disappointing,” she said in an interview.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wouldn’t even look at her after a confirmation hearing. “I was trying to be nice afterwards and went to shake her hand, and she ignored me and just literally spun the other way and walked out,” said DeVos.
It wasn’t much better in her new department. For example, her office receptionists didn’t come in, deciding to telework. “How can you be a receptionist if you are not there to actually receive people? It was just mind-boggling,” said DeVos.
And the White House didn’t help much. As with other departments, President Donald Trump’s personnel team took months to fill top jobs, obsessing over tweets seen as anti-Trump and trying to push inexperienced supporters into top jobs.
“Pretty much everything we did took two times, 10, 20 times what it should take,” DeVos said of her early months as America’s top education official.
But like Trump, also subjected to 24/7 attacks on Capitol Hill and in the media, DeVos succeeded in making several new policies, and now, she’s getting some credit.
“Arguably, never have a Cabinet secretary’s policies been so distinct from their demonic image, epitomizing the immense disconnect between symbols and realities in today’s Washington,” said the American Enterprise Institute.
What’s more, she is benefiting from the pro-parent movement in education, prompted in part by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s pro-union push against parental involvement, a position that killed his 2021 campaign for a second term.
DeVos is using that for a national campaign built around her book to call for a new “education freedom” that promotes school choice and reform, a movement that began when families frustrated with months of COVID-19-related school closings moved to home-schooling and other alternatives.
In Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child, DeVos offers a pro-parent agenda to follow to bring reform and freedom to schools.
“That’s just another proof point for the ultimate goal, which is total education freedom, empowering every family to direct their kid’s education, location, or experience,” she said.

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