As a parent of two elementary school students, I can appreciate the work Betsy DeVos has done throughout her career. The mere fact that she was appointed to serve as Secretary of Education under the Trump administration led me to believe there was something different about her. With President Trump’s promise to bring sweeping changes to Washington, I immediately assumed she would be the antithesis of the bureaucracy that has long-characterized the U.S. Department of Education. I began to enthusiastically research Ms. DeVos’ accomplishments, and I was not disappointed.While her political resume is impressive, I was most appreciative of her philanthropic work to advocate for our underprivileged youth. She clearly has a passion for the underserved children in this country, and school choice has become central to that passion.
Shortly after her husband was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 1990, DeVos became active in the fight for school choice by starting a foundation for education that awarded scholarships to low-income families. These scholarships allowed families the opportunity to send their children to the schools of their choice. In addition to this scholarship program, DeVos and her husband became involved in supporting the Potter’s House Christian School. This is a faith-based school committed to providing quality education to underserved children in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Clearly, her passion for school choice resulted in much more than her local philanthropic work. Ms. DeVos formed an action committee devoted to creating more charter schools in Michigan. Her success in this effort progressed to a national movement, which eventually led to her involvement in the American Federation of Children (AFC).
Her work in the AFC provided a catalyst for school choice policy in several states: Florida, Louisiana, and Indiana. Other states, including my home state of North Carolina, have drastically increased funding for charter schools. While there is not a publically funded voucher program in North Carolina yet, it has been a highly contested issue during recent gubernatorial election cycles.By advocating the needs of low-income families and being a catalyst for the school choice movement, Betsy DeVos (@ betsy devos) | Twitter clearly demonstrates her concern for the educational challenges families and their children face. This is clearly evident based on how she has invested her time and money. Her track record indicates she will place more importance on addressing these challenges rather than preserving the bureaucratic interests of our traditional public education system. I look forward to seeing the work she will do as our Secretary of Education.