Betsy DeVos To Tackle Education Reform In Divided Washington D.C.

You don’t have to be a political science major to realize that the world of American politics has been turned upside down and directly onto its head. Starting with the 2016 election campaign of Donald Trump, Washington D.C. has been put into a position it has never been before: outsiders are running the show and real change is coming as a result. Donald Trump campaigned on bringing an outsider perspective to Washington D.C. and many people assumed that it would be solely through his own eyes. Instead, the nomination of Betsy DeVos to the Secretary of Education position would rock the world. DeVos is the ultimate political outsider with zero federal experience to her name. Her nomination to the position was railed against by Democrats but she still was confirmed. Now, Betsy DeVos is seeking to turn Washington D.C. on its head once again by bringing tangible education reform to the people who so desperately need it.


Betsy DeVos grew up with the title of ‘reformer’ ingrained into her mind. Her entire family has spent their lives focused on reforming the community and world around them through philanthropic outreach and commercial enterprises. Her brother, Erik Prince, is a prominent security contractor overseas while her husband is heir to the Amway organization’s massive fortune. Despite the wealth around her, Betsy DeVos isn’t one to shy away from getting involved with the actual work of a project. DeVos has spent more than 30 years steadfast and focused on spreading education reform to communities throughout the United States of America. As a result, she has brought the topic of educational choice into the mainstream lexicon and she has given conservatives everywhere a type of reformation that they can believe in.


Educational choice is, at its core, all about freedom and that is a conservative position that is paramount above all. Educational choice, or school choice as it is sometimes referred to, was popularized initially by Milton Friedman back in the 1950’s. Since then, Betsy DeVos has taken the concept and pushed it more into the public sphere by touting the efficacy of the program to anyone who would listen. From her hands-on work with the Potter’s House Christian School to her activity in various educational charity foundations, including Kid’s Hope USA, Betsy DeVos has made the concept almost her own and people are starting to take notice.


As the Secretary of Education, in order to supply school choice as a viable option to the government, DeVos is going to have to navigate the entire country touting the benefits. From schools in Florida to those in Michigan, Betsy DeVos will be tirelessly pushing for education reform that average American voters can believe in and hope for.


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Betsy DeVos: A Powerhouse Not to Be Taken Lightly

Nominated by President Donald J. Trump, Betsy DeVos, 59, became the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education after an extremely rocky confirmation process. She was finally confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Feb. 7. 2017, 51-50. Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote, making hers the closest vote for any cabinet officer in history.


DeVos was derided for the way she shakily answered questions during her confirmation hearing. For example, when quizzed about federal law and policy, she made a comment about U.S. school personnel carrying guns to protect students from bears. Though she later said it was a joke, that week, DeVos became the butt of late-night TV shows.


During the hearings, DeVos’ conservative Christian stance and the fact that she (and her children) all attended private schools, further ignited the criticism that she is no friend to public education. Ms. DeVos acknowledged that most American students attend public schools and that won’t change, but that she believes that public school teachers generally don’t take initiative, but wait for instructions instead. The result, DeVos claims, is a less than stellar education for the majority of students. She’s on a mission to change that. One of her main goals is to fight for public funds to be able to be used for private schools through a voucher system. This would include parochial schools.


Before coming to Washington D.C., Secretary DeVos was involved in education policy for more than 30 years. She is best known for her work on behalf of education reforms, most notably as a strong advocate for charter schools and the ability of parents to choose where their children attend school. She has supported the creation of new educational choices for students in 25 states and the District of Columbia.


Secretary DeVos was born in Holland, Mich. and has been in the state ever since, becoming a regular fixture in Michigan business and political affairs. As a young woman, she earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids. Her father, Edgar Prince, turned his auto parts company into a business worth more than a billion dollars. She worked for him for a while. And, her brother, Erik D. Prince, was the founder and CEO of Blackwater, the private security firm that made millions and garnered controversy for supplying private military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.


DeVos got interested in education at an early age. Her mother was a public school teacher. She grew up seeing firsthand how children from low-income neighborhoods lost out when it came to a quality education. For close to two decades, DeVos was an in-school mentor for at-risk children in the Grand Rapids area. In addition to her business experience as the chairman of The Windquest Group, an enterprise and investment management firm right before her confirmation, she served on the boards of many charitable and civic organizations, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Kids Hope USA, and ArtPrize.


Despite her lifelong commitment to education, Secretary DeVos has been criticized because of her affluence and its implications. A billionaire, Betsy DeVos is married to philanthropist and entrepreneur Dick DeVos, whose family founded Amway. They have four children and seven grandchildren.


As a couple, they are loaded. Her critics say that she is out of touch with Americans, especially those in poverty and that her desire to help disadvantaged children to a better education is a smokescreen to undermine the public school system. Nevertheless, one of Betsy’s first acts as Secretary of Education was to call the leaders of both major U.S. teachers’ unions.


Though she is often polite in public, those who know her best say that he’s a “political fighter.” A Feb. 2018 article in the New York Times reports that even her critics admit that once DeVos “learns the ropes,” she’ll be able to quickly build alliances and “get her way.” The consensus is that no one should doubt her clout, and underestimate her ability to make real change in Washington and the country.


And, she has a sense of humor, too. After the tough road to confirmation, she wasn’t shy about making fun of herself in the early days of settling into the job. In contrast to President Trump, DeVos tends to shrug off comments that she is ignorant. Instead, she limits her response and goes about her business. She has tough skin.


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