As the newest Secretary of Education for the United States government, Betsy DeVos is in a truly unique position. After having spent her entire life championing conservative education reform, DeVos is in a place and time where she can actually bring her dreams into reality. While Betsy DeVos has since gotten national attention for being handpicked by the Trump Administration, she is still a relative unknown to people outside of the gates of Washington D.C.’s inner political world. Let’s take some time in order to learn why DeVos believes in conservative education reform and what that specifically might entail in the future.
Before we get started on Betsy DeVos’s role as an education reformer, we should probably learn a little bit more about her as a person. Betsy DeVos was born into a family that believed in the core tenets of faith, family and conservative values. From an early age, Betsy DeVos wanted to go to school so that she could join the family tradition of operating as a reformer, as someone who could make and render real positive changes in the world. After graduating from Calvin College, Betsy DeVos would become incredibly active as a member of the Michigan Republican Committee. In fact, DeVos has chaired six different committees while establishing several of her own foundations which include the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Kids Hope USA. The common thread through all of her activities is her desire to bring education reform to the masses.
Conservative education reform is now all about the concept known as school choice, or educational choice. Betsy DeVos first became aware of this type of reform when she studied Milton Friedman’s writing on, ‘The Role of Government in Education’. This was the first thoroughly written out piece of scholarly writing that pointed to the powerful impact that school choice could have on a society. DeVos took the writing to heart and ran with it, making it her personal goal to spread school choice far and wide.
While Friedman’s paper was initially written 50 years ago, DeVos has helped to keep it alive by spreading the concept to different states throughout the country. Right now 17 different states are participating in private-choice programs. Of these 17 states, there are more than 250,000 students now attending these school choice facilities. Keep in mind that Betsy DeVos generated this impressive about of interest all without ever having served in office.
Now as the head of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos has the Presidential mandate behind her. Betsy DeVos has the chance, and the obligation, to push school choice on a national level. If President Trump and Washington Republicans continue to make these huge gains, Betsy DeVos might be able to realize her life’s goal of making school choice part of the national conversation.
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