Betsy DeVos is the current United States Secretary of Education. Though she was appointed this position in 2017 under the Trump administration, DeVos had been involved in education reform for more than 30 years. Betsy and her husband Dick DeVos have worked to promote school choice, charter schools, and school voucher programs, with the goal of providing the same educational opportunities to all students, regardless of income and location. In 2013, before her current government position, Betsy discussed her education reform goals in an interview with Philanthropy.
Her interest in education reform began when she and her husband had school-age children. At that time, they visited the Potter’s House Christian School, a school with the goal of providing an education to children from low-income families. Betsy was moved by the parents that she met there, who had worked hard to pay the school’s tuition so that their children could receive an education in a safe environment.
Betsy and Dick began to support individual students at the Potter’s House Christian School. Betsy felt that if she had the ability to choose a school for her children, other parents should have the same opportunity. While individual scholarships were helping some students receive a quality education, Betsy wanted to help as many children as possible. This led her to serve on the boards of two charities: American Education Reform and Children First America. These two organizations promoted school vouchers and tax credits to help children from low-income families receive an education.
Dick and Betsy DeVos worked towards education reform in their home-state of Michigan by promoting the expansion of charter schools. After their success there, Betsy wanted to promote reform nation-wide. She became involved in the American Federation for Children, whose goals were to inform the public about school choice and to promote new legislation for education reform. At the time of the interview, DeVos said that their efforts have had a greatest effect in Florida, Louisiana, and Indiana.
DeVos believes that as technology grows in the digital age, it will play a bigger role in education. With the widespread availability of the internet, the notion that education must be tied to a specific building will diminish. She also believes that charter schools can play a key role in education reform, providing parents with more school choices. However, she points out that charter schools take time and money to establish, which she knows from her experience establishing a charter school in Michigan with her husband. As an alternative or a supplement to charter schools, she believes that there are currently existing schools that can be made available to low-income families with voucher programs.
Betsy DeVos is committed to education reform and has been for much of her life. Her efforts have had an effect in her home-state of Michigan and nationwide. Her overall goal is that all families, regardless of their location or income, have the same educational opportunities.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.