For those who have been following the campaign of Betsy DeVos, you have to hand it to her. She has been working in education reform for a little over two decades, and she now is in the highest position in education. There are many who believe DeVos shouldn’t be in the position she has because she lacks experience as an educator and teacher. However, the mother and business leader hasn’t let that stop her in the slightest.
When she was sworn into the office of the 11th US Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos was all smiles. She had been working for this for a long time, and she hadn’t always received support. It was in Michigan where she began her campaign for educational choice, a controversial program that allows students to pick where they go to school. To DeVos, it was simple. Students were being forced to go to failing schools when they could attend private schools to get a better education. Parents have always fought for their students to have more options, and now this program was giving them that choice.
However, many in education didn’t like educational choice because of the implications. Most said that public funding would be placed in the hands of for-profit schools. DeVos cleared that up in a very public televised interview on “60 Minutes” in 2018. In the interview with Leslie Stahl, she was asked many questions about tax dollars and how they were used for educational choice. DeVos replied that wasn’t how it works at all, and she was working hard to get more funding through philanthropy.
Stahl also asked whether the programs were successful, or at least if they were more successful than public schools. DeVos believed that Florida and Louisiana were the best models of success when it comes to education. Since starting her campaign, DeVos has received help from many sources, such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sam Walton from Wal-Mart, and Bill Gates from Microsoft.
While there have been a lot of issues with educational choice, it hasn’t been because DeVos doesn’t care about students, which many in education have tried to state. In fact, the main problem has been that students don’t have enough options. DeVos has tried to change that with, but many states do not want any educational choice programs.
DeVos kicked off 2019 by visiting several schools in the US with First Lady Melania Trump. Her hope was to change the opinions around educational choice, and she had some unlikely help in doing so. Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic presidential candidate, has also stated her support for educational choice, stating that vouchers help parents who are stuck working and don’t have time to ensure that students get a good education.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.