Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is known for many things. Her pleasant demeanor, politeness and determination are just a few of her great assets. What many people misjudge is her willingness to fight tooth and nail for a cause she believes in.
Before her name was submitted for nomination to serve as Secretary of Education in the Trump Administration, DeVos was a very important figure in Michigan Republican politics. She served for 10 years as the state’s party chair. She was also responsible for helping shape a great deal of legislation, along with her husband, businessman and philanthropist Dick DeVos.
Both of the DeVoses come from very wealthy families. Her husband is the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. She was born Betsy Prince in the small town of Holland, Michigan. Her father, Edgar, was a rich industrialist and also heavily involved in Michigan Republican politics.
According to many who know Mrs. DeVos, she is a fighter. And she has the money and the clout to make people who oppose her pay. But even she and her husband’s deep pockets could not help in 1992 when her initiative to force tax payers to pay for charter schools failed.
Betsy DeVos firmly believed in school choice and the voucher program. She fought to help children of poor backgrounds, who were trapped in failing schools get a better education. While Michigan tax payers weren’t exactly on board with a tax hike for charter schools, she managed to convince several surrounding states to get on board.
Although DeVos’s intentions may have been well taken, she has plenty of critics.
One of the biggest knocks on her charter school agenda was the issue of the lack of oversight. Her detractors accused her of purposefully attempting to steer funds away from public schools to private schools. Others say DeVos’s grand experiment was a grand failure. According to the numbers, many of the charter schools are performing well below the national numbers.
During her confirmation, many of her detractors complained that she lacks the real-life experience of students and families who were forced to use financial aid.
In spite of the stumbling blocks, Mrs. DeVos is determined to work with her political foes to gain a better understanding and surpass expectations.
While National Association of Teacher President Randi Weingarten calls DeVos dangerous and suggests she is not one to be underestimated, she says she is willing to work with her. Mrs. DeVos has extended the olive branch. Hopefully, both sides will come to some type of consensus on how to make education the best it can be for students all across the U.S.
Visit http://www.betsydevos.com/ to learn more.