When taking over as the Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos did not have much experience in government. Perhaps better known for her work in philanthropy and her family’s exploits, Devos quickly vaulted into a national spotlight that has seen her criticized about everything from appearances with Pitbull to her thoughts on guns. Still, Devos has seen herself as a reformer chosen to help improve a system that has been failing students for many decades. Though she comes to Washington with little direct experience, she makes up for that with passion for a new job and the many challenges that come with it. Learn more: https://www2.ed.gov/news/staff/bios/devos.html?src=hp
Much of her optimism comes from her belief in a national charter system that can provide students with a choice on where they go to high school. Students get to choose where they go to college, picking the place that is best suited for their goals and long-term aspirations. When it comes to high school, though, the standard public school system has long kept students from being able to pick their own school. As a reformer, she sees the model that was tried in Milwaukee, where vouchers were used to help parents select a school for their children, as the exciting future of American education.
Devos is not a stranger personally to the power of positive change. Her and her husband have recently lifted the veil, so to speak, on the philanthropy they have done. In total, their lifetime contributions go beyond $130 million. They have given to a host of causes, including the arts and education. They have a foundation that brings in money for good causes, but Devos has been no stranger to her own form of positive giving. She has seen in those efforts that investing a little tender love and care into a community can produce changes in attitude and mindset. With this in mind, she’s sought to bring the same mentality to the Education Department.
She has noted that like many parents, she became interested in the charter school movement just because it spoke to what she wanted for her kids. She observed failing schools and toured options for her children. In light of what she learned, she is serious about giving other parents the same opportunity that she had. While some people might consider the charter school movement to be radical or controversial, Devos doesn’t think that giving parents the best opportunity to provide a life for their children is controversial in the least. In fact, she has noted that many parents love the idea once it is implemented in their state.
Devos knows that there are many issues in the world of education today, including more digital education and the opportunity for distance learning. She has her eye on the ball, targeting common sense reforms to a system that has been failing to keep up. Her ultimate goal, which includes instituting voucher and school choice programs in all states, remains about her own commitment to seeing through a movement that inspired her many years ago.