Betsy DeVos is known in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan as a reformer and loyal defender of charter schools. Residents there have had some difficulty seeing the Betsy DeVos as she has been portrayed since becoming President Trump’s education secretary. DeVos has spent some 30 years pursuing reform in various avenues, attempting to find solutions to different social issues. Along with her positions in business and politics, DeVos has also looked for ways to reform through non-profit positions.
In a recent interview, DeVos talked more about educational reform. She reflected on the nearly 25 years since the first private school voucher program was started in Wisconsin. DeVos noted that there are well over 200,000 students in school choice programs throughout the country. In the previous year, the programs added another 40,000 students. After polling five states, DeVos and her people found that school choice programs were extremely popular, and especially in the Latino community.
DeVos believes that these numbers and events are forcing people to pay attention to the fact that the traditional format of public schooling is failing in a lot of cases. She stated that her experience with a small Christian school in Grand Rapids led her to become more involved in the school choice movement. She started a scholarship fund with her husband, but soon realized that it wouldn’t be enough to give parents broad choices on where to send their kids for school.
DeVos then realized that educational choice was the solution and she worked to expand the movement with voucher programs and tax credits. When an amendment to the Michigan constitution failed, she began a political action committee in the state. As her work became more successful in the early 2000s, she decided that it needed to be brought to attention nationally.
Though DeVos identifies as a Republican, she believes that educational choice can only truly succeed if it is made a non-partisan or bipartisan issue. Unfortunately, this has been difficult to implement since Democrats traditionally enjoy a lot of support from teachers’ unions. DeVos believes that education should not be a partisan issue and wants to make it safer for Democrats to support this politically. Despite what it looks like on the surface, DeVos says she also believes that many Democrats also support educational choice.
DeVos ultimately wants to put an end to the attitude that kids must attend schools based only on where they live. Learn more: https://twitter.com/BetsyDeVos?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor