For several years now Betsy DeVos, US Secretary for Education, has been leading the education-reform faction. She has pursued educational reforms through various not-for-profit roles. She is the chairman of Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. She also sits in a number of local boards like the Mars Hill Bible Church, Foundation for Excellence in Education, Kids Hope USA and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, Kennedy Center. Betsy is popularly known for her contribution to the educational-choice movement. Betsy opened up about her philanthropy and the financial giving her family has made to charity in the last couple of years.
What Motivated Betsy DeVos to the School-Choice Movement?
In an interview on Philanthropy Roundtable, Mrs. DeVos revealed that no single incident drew her in as it was more of a gradual thing. Dick and Betsy DeVos made a visit to the Potter’s House Christian School when their children were also attending school. During the visit, the couple noted the many hardworking parents from low-income families that were doing everything possible to keep their children in school. The couple visited the school every now and then and took note of this issue. They started supporting individual students in the school and this grew into something big later on.
How did it start?
Dick and Betsy DeVos became more committed to helping parents from low-income homes in paying school fees for their children. As her husband ran for the State Board of Education, Michigan where he was elected in 1990, Betsy started a foundation that offered scholarships to low-earning families. These scholarships assisted such parents to take their children to schools of their choice. However, this was not enough as not all parents could access the scholarships and Mrs. DeVos got involved with the education-choice movement even more in pushing for further reforms.
Betsy DeVos is more focused on school choice and hopes to break the mentality that a child can only be assigned to a school that is in the zip code of their home. She hopes and advocates for more freedom to be granted. Betsy revealed that digital and blended learning were contributing to this school-choice movement. Others include home schooling and charter schools e.g. the West Michigan Aviation Academy (a charter high school) that was started by her husband. She challenged him to start a school where he would be able to combine his love for flying and education. Check this article from NYPost.
About Betsy DeVos
DeVos has been involved politically for over 35 years from being a volunteer for President Ford (1976). She has held numerous Republican leadership roles with political action committees, campaigns and party organizations that mainly focused on education reform and choice. She was chairman of the American Federation for Children (AFC) and boldly fought the education system to give more options to parents in regard to their children’s education.
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