Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended the decision to rescind guidance from the Obama administration that advised schools to allow transgender students to access restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity.
“Let me just say that this issue was a huge example of the Obama administration’s overreach, to suggest a one-size-fits-all, federal government approach, top-down approach, to issues that are best dealt with and solved at a personal level and a local level,” DeVos told CNN conservative political commentator Kayleigh McEnany in a sit-down interview at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference.
DeVos, who prior to her confirmation was best known as a conservative political activist who had donated large sums of money to the Republican Party, had briefly addressed the conference, largely focusing her speech on the importance of conservative ideas and encouraging younger, college-age CPAC attendees not to be bullied or cowed into silence because of their conservative beliefs.
When the Education Secretary sat down for the brief 10-minute interview, McEnany mentioned the decision of the Trump administration to rescind the guidance, causing the attendees in the room to burst into applause. McEnany then asked DeVos to explain why repealing the guidance was in keeping with the conservative philosophy that localities and states are better poised to make decisions on educational policy than the federal government.
McEnany also praised DeVos for her commitment to protecting school-age children of “all identities.”
“I have made clear from the moment I have been in this job that it’s our job to protect students, and to do that to the fullest extent that we can,” Devos said, “and also to provide students, parents and teachers with more flexibility around how education is delivered and how education is experienced, and to protect and preserve personal freedoms.”