Betsy Devos and the Educational Choice Movement

Betsy Devos has been leading the fight for education reform for the past two years. Since she was appointed to be the 11th US Education Secretary, Devos has received a lot of criticism from the left as well as public school teachers. For one, she has been criticized for not being a teacher, while also promoting for-profit private schools ahead of public schools. Betsy Devos says that’s not the case and that people just misunderstand. She replied to many of the questions by Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” with the same fervor, repeating when asked that she only had a couple years to change the education system in America. This has been an issue since the 1980s, and it won’t quickly get resolved.


On her experience, Devos is the daughter of a public school teacher, and she has been working in education reform since the 1980s. She graduated from Calvin College and began working on the Ford campaign in the 1980s as well. She has been a champion of education in Michigan with her husband,proposing legislation such as the “Kids First!” Coalition.


While she has always fought hard for education reform, it wasn’t until her appointment in 2016 that people actually noticed what she had been working towards. Many in the public school system were not a fan, claiming that she would use public funding for private school vouchers and scholarship programs. However, Devos says that these critics just do not understand. In fact, philanthropy has helped the most when it comes to education reform.


She has a few big donors to the educational choice cause including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sam Walton. These three donors have given millions to the educational reform cause under Betsy Devos, which has helped with multiple scholarship programs. Devos has stated that she wanted to return education back to the states, allowing the state legislature to get more funding to help their school districts.


In addition to her work as a reformer, she has also been charged with school safety by President Trump. During a number of school shootings, Devos was appointed to lead the school safety movement, and she started immediately by addressing some of the main problems. Schools would have new safety measures, as well as evacuation plans. Some schools also received new metal detectors.


For the next year, Devos plans to continue to work with states and get the right kind of education for America’s students. She has said that the most successful states include Louisiana and Florida. Florida has the most educational choice options by far with magnet programs, homeschooling,virtual schools, charter schools, and private schools. Florida also has a tuition-based scholarship program.


Betsy Devos will continue to work in education reform and has been making her way to each state to ensure that each legislature has the tools to start educational choice programs.


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