Betsy DeVos On Topic Article

Betsy DeVos is one of the most polarizing figures in American politics. Whether you love her ideas or wish she would resign, DeVos has done something that no other US Education Secretary has been able to do. She has given students the option to decline going to a failing school and opt for a higher education at a private school or magnet program instead.

 

This is the basis of educational choice. While many have pigeon-holed it as a scheme to take public funding and give it to private schools, DeVos has tried to explain that philanthropy has actually been the funding behind the movement. Philanthropists like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sam Walton have rallied behind DeVos as she continues to campaign for states to move towards an educational choice school system.

 

Educational reform in America is not a new topic. It has been a battle since the 1980s when a report revealed by the Reagan Administration showed that America’s schools were in a state of disrepair. This led to standardized testing, which only seemed to bring down failing schools even more. Now there are failing schools everywhere in the public school system, which is an issue that can’t be fixed that easily.

 

DeVos says that in time, public schools can change, but for now, it has to be about getting students in better schools and offering a better curriculum. DeVos says that this only possible through educational choice. In fact, this option isn’t just for those who want to go to public schools, it’s also for those who want to go to magnet programs at other public schools, virtual schools, homeschooling, charter schools, and private schools.

 

In a recent interview with “60 Minutes,” Leslie Stahl asked Betsy DeVos what she thought was successful about the new programs. It was difficult to answer. The programs haven’t been in effect for that long. DeVos has only been in office for about two years, and it has been slow trying to get states on board with the educational plan. However, she points to Florida as the most successful. Florida now has the most educational choice options and provides tuition-based scholarship programs for students who qualify. This means that more students are going to school where they want to go instead of being stuck in a school zone that is failing.

 

While many opponents say that DeVos doesn’t have a background in education, DeVos does have a background in educational reform. She also draws inspiration from her mother who was a public school teacher, and she has continued to talk to the media, opponents, public school teachers, and students in support of educational choice, despite the opposition.

 

While the US Education Secretary has a long road to climb, it’s made better by the fact that she can see the improvement for students, and she knows that she is working towards their goals more than those of the administration.

 

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Dick Devos and His Work

Dick DeVos is a renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist from Michigan. He, together with his wife Betsy are disclosing the amount of money they have given out to charity through their foundation. In 2015, Dick and Betsy Devos donated $11.6 million. Led by Dick’s father, Amway’s Co-founder, Richard Devos, Mr. and Mrs. Devos are part of a family lineage that has been active in charity and Republican politics for a very long time. On the other hand, Betsy’s father, the late Holland Industrialist Edgar Prince together with his family were top participants in politics and charity work.

 

The extended DeVos family lifetime’s giving adds up to $1.33 billion or approximately to a quarter of its $5.2 billion fortune. Betsy and Dick are more focused on improving education. The larger portion of Betsy and Dick’s charitable giving goes to schools. For example, in 2015 alone, more than $3 million which is close to 26% of their donations that year, was apportioned to education causes and an extra $357,000 was given out in support of education reform. Some years ago they propelled the first aviation-themed charter school.

 

The DeVoses are also known for their school voucher programs, charter schools and advocacy for school choice. Their school-based giving has benefited several schools and institutions. In 2013 they gave out $315,000 to West Michigan Academy, $100,000 to Ferris State University, $200,000 to Dick DeVos’ alma mater Northwood University, $50,000 to Rehoboth Christian School and $50,000 to Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids. Betsy and Devos have also been benefactors of Potter’s House, an urban Christian school and Grand Rapids Christian school for a long time. Also, they are the patrons of West Michigan Aviation Academy where they offer more than the annual written down contributions. They use their connections for the benefit of the school in functions such as fundraising and even bought the school’s first plane.

 

Their second largest focus is in Arts & Culture like in 2015; they contributed more than $2.4 million to Arts $Culture. The amount can be equated to 21% of their annual contribution in 2015. At the University of Maryland, the couple also donated $ 22 million to launch the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. The rest of their contributions goes to health & human services, Civic& community, churches, public policy, leadership, and development.

 

Dick DeVos founded Windquest Group, a manufacturing and marketing storage and closet organizers company in 1989. In 1993, he became the president of Amway, his father’s company, where he had worked since 1974 before founding Windquest. After retiring as President of Amway in 2002, Dick joined politics and is a member of Republic party. He has a degree in Business Administration from Northwood University.

 

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