It is not every day that a person with influence is put into a spot where they can actually make a huge difference in their field of passion. Betsy DeVos, the former chairman of Michigan’s Republican Party, was recently installed as the Secretary of Education for the United States Government. For people unaware of Betsy DeVos and her history of school choice activism, this news might be met with a resounding “Okay..?”. But the truth is, Betsy DeVos has worked her entire life in order to be put into a position to bring school choice to the masses. DeVos was able to sit down and talk about what has made her tick while on this journey.
Before we dive into DeVos’ history we should take a look at just how far the school choice movement has come. The school choice movement, for those unaware, is a fundamental changing in how the United States government handles education. Right now, for the most part, your children will go to school based upon the zip code that they reside in. While this is a flawed system, often leaving children in the cracks and left behind, it has been the best the country has been willing to try. The school choice system basically erases all concept of zip code boundaries and instead puts all of the power back into the hands of the parents and children involved. Read more about her philanthropy at MLive.com.
The school choice movement, at one point in time, was considered a fairly radical idea. Now it is considered as progressive education. DeVos points out, “Today there are about 250,000 students in 33 publicly funded, private-choice programs in 17 states and the District of Columbia.” This is a huge boost in numbers that shows, very clearly, that the school choice movement is accelerating at an amazing speed. With DeVos at the reigns, and able to make an impact, we can’t see any other direction than forward for this movement.
Betsy DeVos has been working steadily toward education reform throughout her entire public and political life. She’s been hands on with her approach rather than just negotiating everything from an office. DeVos went around to different schools in order to see first hand just what kids were dealing with as well as to interact with parents to see what it is that they wanted out of their children’s education. DeVos can’t pin a single moment on her shift toward school choice, but she says that it has been a lifelong endeavor. DeVos cites the fact that all families basically want the same thing: a healthy, safe, and prosperous environment for children to learn. This is the basis of educational reform and this is what Betsy DeVos will be spending her years in office working toward.