With nearly thirty years of education policy advocacy and experience, Betsy DeVos was President Trump’s top choice for the position of secretary of education. Confirmed by the US Senate in February 2017, DeVos has only just begun to reform American education from the ground up. It is no secret that her life’s work has been advancing the quality of education in the United States.
One of the main criticisms of DeVos that we hear in the media day after day lies in the notion that she does not have a background in education. Her track record proves just the opposite. The daughter to a public school teacher, DeVos was born into the world of education, and remains no stranger to the needs of the educational system. Her work in education began with her initial curiosity in Potter’s House Christian School, a school serving low income students in Grand Rapids, MI. DeVos and her husband grew more involved with the school, learning about sacrifices that families made to give their child a better educational opportunity at this school.
Her work history, while often criticized, is almost never actually discussed. The majority of her work history relates directly to advancing educational choice and higher standards. She worked as a chairman of The Windquest Group, from 1993–2016. From 2009 to 2016, she served as a chairman for the American Federation for Children, chairman for the Alliance for School Choice, and ArtPrize board member. She also served as board member to the Philanthropy Roundtable (2014-2016), Foundation for Excellence in Education (2012-2016), DeVos Institute for Arts Management, (2010-2016), Great Lakes Education Project, (Chairman, 2001-2008, Board Member, 2008–2016), and lastly The Potter’s House School advisory board (1994-2016).
Betsy’s message is crystal clear: she hopes to see an America where a child’s zip code does not determine their educational opportunities, nor impose predetermined limitations. With this goal in mind, the DeVos family has worked to create a huge impact on the world of education in the United States, improving standards for American students. For the last fifteen years, she has worked with in public schools in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area as a mentor for children at risk. She established two charities, Children First America and the American Education Reform Council, both with a focus on providing better options to low-income families. She also served as chair of her foundation, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, an organization that provides millions of dollars of funding to public education initiatives, at risk students, supporting the arts, and community development. Visit dbdvfoundation.org to know more about their foundation.
Betsy DeVos understands that we as a country cannot afford to continue to fund a broken system, nor can this country allow another secretary of education to waste time doing the same thing as we always have and expecting a new result. We need someone like Betsy DeVos who is not afraid to stand up and point out that our way of education is broken, and must be remedied.