Many residents in west Michigan don’t know the Betsy Devos now serving as US Education Secretary. Appointed by President Trump in 2017 to the 11th office of US Education Secretary, Devos has served with a firm hand, but many people are seeing that she is also more philanthropic and logical with her political beliefs now that she is in office. She has taken a stand for educational choice, and while people still don’t agree with her views, they are coming around to seeing what she sees for America’s students.
In an interview with “60 Minutes” in 2018, Devos stated that she only wanted to put students first. She has said many times that those who don’t understand educational choice are the only ones to oppose it. She has also stated that it is not in her interest to use tax dollars to fund private education, although her opponents would disagree.
Devos was born into wealth, hailing from Holland, Michigan, which is a notoriously conservative Dutch community near Lake Michigan. She also attended a conservative Christian school named Calvin College in nearby Grand Rapids, where she would eventually marry Dick Devos, the son of Richard Devos aka the co-founder of Amway Arena. Most people know the Devos family for their ownership of the NBA basketball team Orlando Magic.
Betsy Devos now lives in Grand Rapids with her husband, but she’s mostly in Washington now, deliberating over difficult education laws that stem back with administrations before she was even in the political race. The Reagan Administration was the first to recognize that America’s schools had a problem, and now Betsy Devos is trying to clean up issues with common core, No Child Left Behind, and standardized testing problems.
Her immediate solution is educational choice, whereby students and parents can choose where to go to school. That means they can pick between different public schools through magnet programs or virtual schools, but they can also elect for charter schools or private schools, which would require funding. Who pays for that?
Devos argues that her plan doesn’t include people’s tax dollars for vouchers. Rather, philanthropy would pay for these scholarships. Right now, in Florida, there is a scholarship that students can apply for, and if accepted, their tuition is completely covered by grants. Is it the way that all states are going with educational choice?
Devos has some alternative ideas, and she is backed by a few donors who you might know, including Facebook founder Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. However, she has also donated $35 million through the Devos Family Foundation towards education.
Even though her opponents say that she isn’t a teacher, Betsy Devos comes from a teacher family, and she believes that she has student’s interests in mind first.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.