Most people don’t realize that Betsy Devos comes from an education background. While she may not have been a teacher, her mother was one. Devos said that she looked to her mother for guidance when she was in college, and she was one of the reasons that she got involved with education reform. For many years, Devos has been an education reformer in Michigan, where she brought legislation like “Kids First!” Coalition to the forefront.
Her husband has also joined her before. Dick Devos, son of Amway’s Rich Devos, has been right beside his wife all this time. Even now, he works in Washington as she runs office of the 11th US Secretary of Education. He was appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council in 2017. She has been sweeping the country with education reforms since 2016 when she was appointed by President Trump.
There’s no question that Betsy Devos believes in educational choice as the way to change and improve America’s education system. She has spoken about it vehemently in interviews, including one with “60 Minutes” and hard-hitting Lesley Stahl who asked Devos whether she thought that she had seen any success.
The question comes after Devos has only been in office for two years, and not all states have been on board with her changes to education systems. She does state that the two most successful states are Louisiana and Florida. For one, Florida has the most educational choice options, according to Devos.
In truth, Florida does have some great educational programs. Students can choose to go to magnet programs, virtual schools, homeschooling programs, charter schools, and private schools if they are zoned for a failing school especially. However, students also can go to private school on a scholarship. Devos states that most people simply don’t understand how these programs work, which is why they are so opposed.
Devos says that philanthropy is the reason that these programs have been successful. Donors like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have contributed greatly to educational choice, backing Devos as she looks to gain more political power in education in other states. She wants to bring educational choice to all states by the end of her term.
Devos has also been charged with school safety reform. After numerous school shootings, President Trump asked Devos to head up a school safety reform movement, in which schools would receive more security and help to prevent violence. Most schools started receiving new policies and regulations in the summer with implementation completed before the 2018-2019 school year.
While the Devos family continues to move into tighter political circles, it will be interesting to see who runs for presidency next in the republican party after Trump.
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