The future of education is firmly in the hands of someone who was not known on the national political scene, Betsy DeVos. This is, of course, by design. The Trump Administration rose in power during the 2016 Presidential Elections due entirely to the fact that they appealed to the common voter, offering to drain the swamp and fundamentally shift the dynamic away from career politicians and into the hands of people who otherwise never would have had a chance. Betsy DeVos is a reformer and a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party. Her nomination, and confirmation as the new Secretary of Education was not a fluke. DeVos comes into Washington D.C. with a new perspective on education and one that was carefully selected by President Trump himself.
Betsy DeVos has spent the past thirty years becoming a champion for what we now know as ‘school choice’. School choice is, for lack of a better word, a concept that pushes for less government interference in the role of public education. Originally conceptualized by Milton Friedman more than fifty years ago, Betsy DeVos has been absolutely integral in keeping the subject alive while simultaneously making more and more people aware of it. This bulldog-like passion for school choice put her on the map as an early Secretary of Education candidate and it is what helped propel her up the ranks and into the position itself.
For Betsy DeVos, school choice was cemented in her mind when she visited the Potter’s House Christian School more than 30 years ago. When DeVos was seeking education for her children at the time, she and Dick DeVos went to this school in order to see how effective school choice actually was. DeVos says, “While we were at the school, we met parents who were doing everything in their power to have their kids in an environment that was safe.” DeVos goes on to describe the environment as “electric with curiosity, with love for one another.” It was easy to see that this environment made a real impact on DeVos and as a result, she would go all-in on supporting it going forward.
Thanks to the work of Betsy DeVos, school choice has become one of the fastest rising education concepts in the country. There are more than 250,000 students enrolled in 33 publicly funded institutes across 17 different states. These numbers are just eye-popping considering where the school choice movement was just a decade ago. Now, DeVos is in a national position and she’ll have the direct ability to bring school choice to more states than ever before.
Still, things won’t be easy in Washington for Betsy DeVos. As a political outsider, DeVos is already seeing that the system will fight to protect itself. After narrowly being confirmed to her position, which saw VP Mike Pence have to take the floor to cast a tie-breaker, DeVos has met resistance on every level. Fortunately, she has shown her bulldog prowess in each meeting and politicians are starting to understand that she is more of a fighter than they had believed. Learn more: http://www.chronicle.com/article/DeVos-Moves-From-Wealthy/238838