Courtesy Wiki­media Commons

National Harbor, Md. — Sec­retary of Edu­cation Betsy DeVos expressed her support for Pres­ident Donald Trump’s decision to overturn Obama-era trans­gender bathroom rules Thursday, before a cheering crowd, on the Con­ser­v­ative Political Action Conference’s main­stage.

Trump’s exec­utive order, signed Wednesday, removed a statute put in place by Pres­ident Barack Obama that rec­om­mended public schools to allow trans­gender children at school to use the bathroom with which they identify. Under the Obama-era guidance, non­com­pliant schools would lose federal funding.

DeVos said the Obama laws were federal over­reach.

“The way this issue was handled was typical of the Obama admin­is­tration — a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem that should be solved on a per­sonal level,” DeVos said.

DeVos did not elab­orate further on how schools should address trans­gender stu­dents but instead spoke about how the new Edu­cation Department seeks to min­imize the effect the federal gov­ernment can have on what happens in the classroom.

“I took this job because I want to return edu­cation power to where it belongs: parents, com­mu­nities, and states,” she said.

In addition, DeVos said she aims to help stu­dents with special needs and those in poverty, because she believes edu­cation will be “the great equalizer” for the next gen­er­ation of Amer­icans.

“I share the president’s view that we must work to give all stu­dents an equal oppor­tunity to have a better edu­cation,” DeVos said.

DeVos also noted the con­tro­versy that sur­rounded her appointment and said she is open to bipar­tisan solu­tions for problems with the public edu­cation system.

“This is not a left or right issue,” she said. “This is an American issue. We need to make edu­cation work for every child.”

Emily Hall, a Fair­field Uni­versity student present at DeVos’ speech, said she thinks DeVos and Trump are right to focus on edu­ca­tional issues rather than political ones in public schools.

“Per­sonally, I’m uncom­fortable with a male being in the same bathroom as me,” she said.

Hall and her friends said that they hope DeVos will focus her efforts on issues like charter schools and vouchers.

Some, however, said DeVos’ speech was unim­pressive.

Jon Schweppe, com­mu­ni­ca­tions director for the American Prin­ciples Project, said DeVos was not strong enough on solu­tions to the bigger issues facing American edu­cation.

“She fed the crowd a lot of generic lines about local control but made no mention of Common Core or the trans­gender stuff,” he said.  

Despite objec­tions to her approach, DeVos said she hopes her col­leagues will work with her to help increase the quality of American schooling.

“I think it’s imper­ative that we work together to find common ground,” she said.