DeVos urges Education Dept. staff to 'resist' when Biden takes office

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosGOP lawmakers urge Cardona against executive student loan wipeout More insidious power grab than one attempted Jan. 6? Betsy DeVos not running for Michigan governor MORE pressed staffers at the Education Department to “resist” the incoming Biden administration, according to a copy of her remarks obtained by The Hill.

“Let me leave you with this plea: Resist,” DeVos said at a department-wide virtual meeting. “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.”

The remarks, echoing language of "resistance" from liberal activists, also noted that thousands of the department’s career employees “will be here through the coming transition and beyond” as President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE is anticipated to overhaul the agency.

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Among other things, DeVos touted her decision to revamp Title IX rules governing sexual assault, one of her most controversial acts as Education secretary. 

DeVos said that as secretary her goal “in everything we accomplished was to do what’s right for students” and that “four years later it’s still my focus and it’s still my hope for all of you.” 

The remarks were first reported by Politico.

The Education Department insisted that initial coverage of DeVos's comments "missed the point."

"The Secretary urged the staff to always put students first, and resist anything that distracts from that mission. Too many in Washington for too long have put the needs of adults and the education ‘system’  first. Secretary DeVos worked tirelessly for four years to reorient the conversation around students, especially disadvantaged students, and she urged everyone to keep students at the center of every decision," said Angela Morabito, press secretary at the Department of Education.

DeVos has faced a rocky tenure as Education secretary, though she has been one of the few Cabinet officials to serve the entirety of the Trump administration. She battled with agency staff over reorganizations and workplace policies and earned the fierce ire of Democrats over a number of her policies, including her Title IX changes and her vocal support for private schools in her job overseeing the nation’s public institutions.

Updated: Dec. 16, at 2:02 p.m.