While you may think that you know Betsy Devos, you probably don’t know her as well as residents from western Michigan who have known the Devos family for most of their lives. Richard Devos is the co-founder of Amway Arena. His son Dick Devos married Betsy during college. She was attending Calvin College, a Christian school located in Grand Rapids. Today, she has fought for educational reform and found herself in the 11th Office of US Education Secretary. It’s a dream come true for Betsy Devos who has worked her entire life to support American students and their education.
Many have seen Betsy Devos as an opponent to public education due to her beliefs on educational choice and charter schools. In fact, she has co-founded her own charter school in Michigan for pilot training. However, Devos argues that she isn’t against public education, and she doesn’t want to de-fund America’s public schools. In fact, it’s the opposite. She wants to strengthen schools while still offering parents and students a way out if their school zone isn’t what they want.
It’s become an issue that many have fought against in the media, accusing Devos of steering public funds towards for-profit schools. Devos disagrees. She stated in an interview in 2018 that people who didn’t understand educational choice “just don’t get it.” She also thanks philanthropy for backing many of the educational choice students today, including those in her most successful states. Louisiana and Florida have the most educational choice options.
Florida has been well known for its student choice schools. In this state, you can also opt for a tuition-based grant that allows you to get funding to go to private schools. Students may also opt for virtual schools, homeschooling programs, magnet schools, or charter schools.
In addition to her work on educational choice, Devos has been tasked with cleaning up America’s school safety problems. This means more restrictions on student backpacks and locker privacy, while also ensuring that all schools are prepared for a lock down in case of a shooter on campus. When asked if teachers would be carrying guns, Devos didn’t provide a solid answer, stating that she didn’t want to bring more guns on campus, and she was exploring all of the options.
Devos has led the way for charter schools in Michigan, and it’s clear she wants to do the same across the country. The question is whether state legislatures will allow educational choice to become apart of their state’s education system. Many public school teachers hope the answer is no, and that legislators look for ways to help schools with more funding.
For the next two years, Devos will be working with state legislators to come up with a plan for educational choice options in every state.
For updates, follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.