Betsy DeVos is always in the news. In fact, it’s hard for her to stay out of it. She has been dealing with the media since she was appointed in 2016 as the 11th Secretary of Education by President Trump. Her appointment was criticized at the time, but it’s easy to see how she has climbed up the political ladder one strategy at a time. Her educational policies have also been praised by students and parents, who see that she is trying to help students first in the fastest way possible.
Philanthropy has been the backbone of the education leader’s success. She has incredible donors including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Sam Walton of Wal-Mart. In addition, she has donated over $139 million through the DeVos Family Foundation to educational organizations as well as other charities. She is also the co-founder of her own charter school in her hometown of Grand Rapids. The charter school trains students to become flight operators and pilots on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
To those who question Betsy DeVos’ commitment to education, DeVos has been forthright. She doesn’t believe that her opposition really understands what it is about. Otherwise, she says, they wouldn’t have an issue. While many claim that educational choice will lead to public funding for private schools, DeVos says that’s not the case, and that they are wrong. She believes educational choice is the only way to help kids who are stuck in failing school zones as a result of problems facing public schools who can’t get past standardized test scores and Common Core math problems.
Educational choice isn’t a new concept. It was introduced in the 1990s as a way for students to choose where they wanted to go to school if they were stuck in a failing school or if they wanted to seek a different curriculum. Now, educational choice has become more popular. DeVos says that it has been most successful in just a few states. Other states have not changed their policies to reflect more educational choice options, which has been an uphill battle for Betsy in the first two years of her term.
Florida is one of the most successful states for educational choice. The state offers magnet programs, virtual schools, charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling programs. Students can also apply for a tuition-based scholarship to help them go to a private school if their application is accepted.
All of this has polarized Americans on the topic of educational choice and change in America’s education system. There have also been other issues that have faced Betsy while in office, such as school safety reforms. She recently made changes to school safety policies as a result of gun violence in 2018. Those changes took affect ahead of the new school year in summer 2018.
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