Betsy DeVos is a devout reformer, unabashed in her faith, and a complete bulldog within the political arena. As the newest Secretary of Education, DeVos will be charged with making a difference inside of a political machine that has been notoriously caustic to outsiders. Of course, President Trump has changed the discussion relating to outsiders in the United States government forever after spending the majority of his campaign touting his willingness to ‘drain the swamp’. Now, words must transition into work and Betsy DeVos is more than ready to prove Trump’s faith in her as a good decision.
For Betsy DeVos, there has been no single topic more important over the past thirty years than the idea of school choice. DeVos has taken up the reigns for the past thirty years in order to try to spread the word and get more people involved with the concept. School choice is a concept made originally popular by Milton Friedman’s writings more than fifty years ago. However, Friedman’s writings would have stayed as writings without DeVos’ devotion to spreading the word. Let’s look at why and how DeVos has done so much work to get school choice on the menu of conversations everywhere within politics.
Betsy DeVos sat down with the Philanthropy Roundtable just this past year in order to discuss what led her to become the most vocal figure in the fight for school choice on a national level. With m ore than fifty years separating the writings of Milton Friedman and the success of DeVos in getting the word out, something had to have seriously changed in the national discourse and DeVos is likely the reason why. DeVos says of the future of school choice, “Well, I’ve never been more optimistic.” She goes on to detail how more than 17 states have adopted school choice programs with 33 publicly-funded institutions cropping up so far. As of the most recent statistics, almost a quarter of a million students are enrolled within these institutions. Michigan is, of course, leading the charge with the majority of programs coming from DeVos’ own neck of the woods.
Of course, getting school choice to such a public and popular level wasn’t an easy task and nor did it happen overnight. DeVos first took a serious look at school choice as the future of education when she and her husband Dick had their own children. DeVos recalls a time when she visited the Potter’s House Christian School and saw just how electric and inspiring the learning environment was. DeVos knew that she was looking at something special, “Where the atmosphere was just electric with curiosity and with love for one another.” Betsy knew that she wanted that atmosphere translated to schools all across the nation.
It takes more than just a good idea to reform a concept as large as education. So, DeVos started up two different school-choice charities while also serving on the Michigan Republican Party board as the chairwoman. That work put her on Donald Trump’s radar and now DeVos has the national reach that she has always needed. Learn more: https://twitter.com/BetsyDeVos?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor