The Change-Maker in Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a change-maker. Since her college years, the young Betsy Prince has shown potential to be successful in every endeavor she chooses to undertake, eventually becoming involved in campus politics. Since then, Mrs. DeVos has associated herself in many campaigns, political action committees, and party organizations, including being the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. This strong drive for reform isn’t a trait that she alone has — her husband, Dick DeVos, was the Republican candidate for Governor of Michigan.
Despite her husband’s unsuccessful attempt for the governorship, the DeVoses continued to search for ways to address the loopholes in education.. before she was appointed U.S. Secretary of Education, Mrs. DeVos was the chairman of the Windquest Group, a company that invests in clean energy, manufacturing, and technology. She built the multi-company in 1989 with her husband, who happens to the former president of the Orlando Magic basketball team and former president of multi-level marketing company Amway.
Her most important work, perhaps, is her philanthropy. She chairs the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, a non-profit organization known to support a wide range of interest. She is also acquainted with local groups, including the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Kids Hope USA, Mars Hill Bible Church, and the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the Kennedy Center.
Today, however, Mrs. DeVos is more known as an advocate for the educational-choice movement and has chaired both the Alliance for School Choice and the American Federation for Children (AFC).
According to the philanthropist, her family is driven to help other parents, particularly those from low-income families, to place their children in the right school. It’s the reason why they decided to award scholarships to financially incapable families so that parents can decide where they want their kids educated.
However, Mrs. DeVos was aware that awarding scholarships wasn’t enough to address the real problem. Despite the effort, a lot of kids still didn’t get the scholarships they deserve, leaving a lot of parents still in search of a solution. This led to her becoming more involved in the educational-choice movement, which she still continues to push to this day.
In 2000, the DeVoses pushed to alter the state constitution to allow vouchers or tax-credit scholarships. They failed, however, with Mrs. DeVoses calling the failed initiative “tragic,” considering the state of Michigan has a lot of families especially in the state’s urban school districts.
Being in the politics for most of her life and having chaired the Michigan Republican Party for several years, Mrs. DeVos responded to the defeat by starting a political action committee in her home state, which they call the Great Lakes Education Project. The group was created in order to promote changes in the education system through the expansion of charter schools. The movement saw success Michigan, which led to the decision of expanding their vocation nationally.
The wealth of the DeVoses is known to many, but they’re putting their money where their views are, which fortunately for us, are for the good of mankind.
To learn more, visit www.betsydevos.com.