Betsy DeVos has lots of political experience, far more than many of her opponents realize. During the confirmation process for her appointment, many in the Senate seemed to be unaware of her background. The truth is that DeVos became politically active back when she was still Elisabeth Prince. Even in her student days, Betsy DeVos was a dedicated activist.
DeVos’ activism is not the kind that gets positive attention from the mainstream media these days. She advocates for big changes, the kind that are not necessarily. For example, she would love to see a return to the values of family and, particularly, education. This isn’t violent or crazy enough to get much attention. But DeVos believes that there has to be change if American children are to succeed out in the world.
One thing Betsy DeVos has championed is school choice. Today, there are over a quarter of a million students in publicly funded, private-choice programs across the US. This is because of advocates like her. When DeVos saw the success of school-choice programs in the Netherlands and states like Wisconsin, she wanted to bring that to others.
For the DeVos family, the issue of school choice is personal. Betsy’s husband, Dick DeVos, is a product of the public school system in Grand Rapids. By the time he and Betsy were raising a family, though, it had deteriorated beyond belief. They were happy to be able to choose private schools for their children, but they noticed other parents’ struggle to do the same.
Although the DeVoses believe in philanthropy, they knew they could not fund scholarships for every child. And they knew working parents didn’t want charity. They just wanted something better for their children than what the public schools offered. Dick and Betsy DeVos threw themselves into local and state politics, and started agitating for change.
Now, after 30 years of advocacy, Betsy has risen to the top. Along the way, she sat on the board of non-profits with national reach devoted to education. She chaired the Michigan Republican Party. Although her opponents would have you believe she’s naive, she is anything but.
As Secretary of Education, she is fighting to make schools better for all American children. School choice should not just be for a privileged few. If public schools are failing in an area, students there deserve a better option. Though union officials are against this, DeVos is more than willing to meet with them and other doubters.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.