Did you see the recent speech by Betsy DeVos on education reform? Her first speech of 2018 delivered a message to the education community. DeVos is fighting hard for schools in the US, and she is doing much of the work on her own.
DeVos, a long-time education reformer and advocate in Michigan, has been positioning charter schools as a way to bring the country’s education goals to the forefront. She has expanded “school choice” to new states, especially in Michigan, where she is from. However, she was asked a difficult question in a 60 Minutes interview that looked at the track record of the new programs.
Are they living up to the promises that the education reformer made in the days of her campaign?
The new education reforms involve a lot of philanthropy and conservative policy makers. While the two have tried to reform public education, many say that the new policies just do not serve students any better than the old system. However, donors and politicians in Washington still believe in school choice and want top-down reform for the entire country’s educational system.
DeVos has always been a reformer, dating back to her days at Calvin College where she was Elisabeth Prince. She was heavily involved in the college’s political system and remained active in education after. For over 30 years, Betsy has led campaign after campaign in Michigan to change the education system and allow for more charter schools.
DeVos has pursued a variety of reform goals through philanthropy. She has even co-founded an aviation charter school in her hometown of Grand Rapids. She has served on several national and local boards, including Kids Hope USA, Foundation for Excellence in Education, Mars Hill Bible Church, and many others.
She said in a recent interview that she has never been more optimistic than she is now about changing education in America. She has created opportunities in states to have private-choice programs for parents who want to send their students to better schools. People are taking note of these changes and starting to talk about the way that public education systems have not done enough for kids in the US.
DeVos also stated that her passion comes from visiting schools that she helped and sees the positive impact on low-income families. She became more involved in the education choice movement after seeing how charter schools helped in her own backyard. During the 1990s, she was on several boards at one time including Children First America. Along with her husband, the two tried to get several charter school bills in Michigan, but they were not able to succeed.
She believes that private choice is the best option for kids in the US at this time. One of her greatest successes is education reform in Florida. With tax-credit scholarship programs, Florida has the biggest number of educational choice options over any other state.
For updates, follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.