Outgoing education secretary Betsy DeVos has encouraged her staff to “be the resistance” when the new Biden administration takes over in a new leaked recording, according to the US media.
Ms DeVos was speaking at a department-wide virtual meeting on Tuesday about the shift to the new administration. Citing a recording from the meeting, Politico quoted Ms DeVos saying: “Let me leave you with this plea: Resist.
“Be the resistance against forces that will derail you from doing what’s right for students. In everything you do, please put students first — always,” she can be heard saying.
Initially, in the recording, she is also heard acknowledging that the staffers of the Department of Education “will be here through the coming transition and beyond”.
Among other things, Ms DeVos also said that her goal “in everything we accomplished was to do what’s right for students,” adding that “four years later it’s still my focus and it’s still my hope for all of you”.
As one of just a handful of cabinet officials of the Trump administration who have completed their full tenure, Ms DeVos has also had a rough term.
She has had disputes with career staff on issues like reorganisation and workplace policies, and drew flak from Democrats on several issues including the overhaul of Title IX rules governing sexual assault and misconduct in schools and colleges, which she was heard lauding as one of her major accomplishments in the recording.
She was also often criticised for her support for private schools overseeing the nation’s public institutions. Her decisions diverting coronavirus relief funds meant for public schools to private and religious schools also drew flak.
While the US was seeing a huge number of daily increases in coronavirus cases, Ms DeVos pushed for the reopening of schools and was in turn accused of overlooking the safety of children and teachers.
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