Children around the country express themselves in different ways and develop different interests over the course of their childhood. However, the common aspect among all children is the requirement to attend school for at least 12 years of their life. Public school is the most accessible option to most families, but there are some who believe their child deserves a specific environment. Betsy DeVos was a parent in that exact position when her child was first starting to attend to school. She learned about the private option, and began a lifelong career of expanding options for children across the country. An interview from 2013 with Philanthropy Roundtable reflects on this period in her life before later taking her ideas to a national scale.
Philanthropy begins the interview by framing how far education has come in recent decades. It has been 50 years since the first case for school choice was proposed by Milton Friedman. Secondly, it was 25 years ago when Wisconsin became the first state to launch a program. Betsy DeVos is amazed by how far the options have come, especially since she entered the fight. She cites at least 17 states with programs in place, and several more that are on the verge of becoming law. Betsy DeVos has been an important figure in pursing the program expansion into the 21st century.
In the interview, Betsy DeVos reflects back on her career up to this point. She can’t cite a single incident that got her involved in the industry but rather her desire for student choice options grew over the course of years. Betsy DeVos remembers the first time she and her husband were introduced to the idea through Potter’s House Christian School. It was a private school that taught their students character building skills in a safe and secure environment. They were awe struck by the number of parents who wanted to get their children into the program dispute the insufficient means to do so. This was the moment when she steadily put more and more attention towards these types of programs.
As the 1990s rolled into the turn of the turn of century, Betsy DeVos and her husband took her activism to several fronts from charity to government roles. They both wanted to give parents the resources to send to their child to the perfect school. Betsy DeVos worked towards this goal by creating a scholarship program for low income families. While her husband took the fight to inside the government by being elected to the Michigan State Board of Education. Together they had pushed for their vision across numerous states and started discussions.
When looking back at everything up to this point, Betsy DeVos believes the greatest push for her vision came out of Florida. That state offers students the greatest amount of choice, but she acknowledges efforts made in other regions. She currently sits in a high position in the Trump administration, from which she can support school choice on a new scale.
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Betsy DeVos is the current secretary of education for the United States, but she faced many challenges before she was able to serve her country. Democrats who opposed her nomination gave her a very hard time during her confirmation hearings by battering her with one question after another. While she has been framed as being a person who wants to do away with the public school system, DeVos made it clear during her hearings that most students in America will continue to receive their educations from a public school.
Betsy DeVos has also had to deal with public criticism after dealing with another issue related to a federal policy that president Trump rescinded. The policy in question was one put into place by the Obama administration, and it allowed transgender students to use a bathroom of their choosing based on their gender identity. Before Trump had rescinded the policy, DeVos took a trip to the department of education to speak with a gay and transgender employee representative. She let the representative know about the president’s plan, and one of her aides had let the employee know that DeVos was opposed to the rescinding of the policy. When DeVos didn’t air her disapproval in public, some people were reportedly confused.
Betsy DeVos has always been the kind of person to stand up for what she believes in, and this is what confused some people. For years, she has been a proponent of legislation that helps students by covering their tuition costs into private and charter schools, and she has fought hard for this cause. DeVos understands politics, and many of her battles take place in back rooms or out of the public eye. This is how she has been able to get a lot done in Michigan, and many politicians believe she will be able to do the same in Washington D.C.
Betsy DeVos was born in 1958 in Holland, Michigan. She grew up in a conservative Christian household and worked with her father, Edgar Prince, in his auto parts business. She attended a private Christian high school and ended up attending a private Christian college later in life. She eventually received her Bachelor of Arts degree in business economics from Calvin College.
Betsy DeVos was heavily influenced during her upbringing by the Dutch community she grew up in. Many of the people in the town of Holland believe that religious schools should have the same freedoms and opportunities as public schools do. Generally speaking, DeVos believes all students in America should be able to attend any school their family chooses, and this has motivated her to enter into the political sector where she has made a lot of progress towards providing students with equal educational opportunities.
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The adult life of Betsy DeVos has been entirely focused on bringing about education reform. Betsy DeVos is a prominent donor to the GOP, head of the Michigan Republican Party, and the newest Secretary of Education. The meteoric ascension of Betsy DeVos has turned the political world on its head. In the process, DeVos has opened the eyes of many on both sides of the political aisle. With President Trump supporting her, Betsy DeVos will look to usher in a new era of public education reformation.
The public school system has been failing, at least in the eyes of Betsy DeVos. DeVos, who was born and raised in a small Dutch community in Michigan, has been a proud advocate of education reform for over thirty years. After having been raised by a family of reformers, Betsy DeVos would attend Calvin College. At college, DeVos would learn the ins and outs of the work that author Milton Friedman had spent so many years of his life working on. Friedman is known as one of the first principled voices of school choice, an argument for federal support of alternative education. DeVos has taken Friedman’s fringe ideas and she has worked hard in order to pull them to the center of the conversation.
DeVos is a longtime conservative. She has spent decades working at a grassroots level in order to raise awareness for conservative education reform. Along the way, Betsy DeVos has served as a chairman on several major committees including the American Federation for Children as well as the Alliance for School Choice. DeVos has helped to usher in a new era of school choice positivity, thanks to her financial contributions and her personal politics. Over the past thirty years, DeVos has helped to bring school choice to 17 states, 33 institutions, and more than a quarter of a million total students. To say that Betsy DeVos is having success would be to sell her work short. DeVos is optimistic that the idea of school choice will continue to grow and evolve in the public hemisphere, thus allowing President Trump to cater to the concept.
Despite her background and wealth of success in education reform, DeVos has a tough task ahead of her. Betsy DeVos has been lambasted by both sides of the political divide. The GOP has called Betsy’s education plan a fringe concept while progressives have argued that her solutions are not grounded in reality. With that being said, Betsy DeVos and President Trump have until at least 2020 to prove themselves. Betsy DeVos has been ramping up speaking engagements ahead of the election, often flying out to Florida in order to speak at a number of charter schools in the area.
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