Up-Close With Betsy DeVos and Her Education Reform Efforts
Betsy DeVos has been dubbed one of America’s most passionate education reformers. Since her collegiate years, Betsy has been active politically. She also seeks to find innovative solutions to common social problems. Recently, he granted an interview to Philanthropy Roundtable to discuss her involvement in philanthropy and how she hopes to achieve educational reform.
According to Betsy, there is hope that education reform will be realized since America has made significant strides towards it. Currently, nearly 250,000 learners are enrolled in 33 public-funded private choice programs in seventeen states. Last year alone, the number grew by over 40,000. This alone is an indicator that education reform is gaining acceptance among Americans.
Motivation Behind Reform Advocacy
Betsy asserts that she was drawn towards education reform after realizing that many school-going children from low-income families fail to complete their education because they cannot attend schools of their choice. Therefore she sought to promote free choice as far as education is concerned besides providing learners with a safe and absorbing learning environment. She started by sponsoring individual students and before long, her sponsorship had grown into a larger commitment.
Serving on the boards of the American Education Reform Board and Children First America during the 90’s similarly increased Betsy’s participation in Education reform. Both organizations seek to expand education choice by offering tax credits and vouchers to leaners from low-income families. She asserts that her biggest achievement is Florida where a tax credit scholarship program is up and running. The state has a widespread education choice program, which has seen more than 50,000 students attending schools of their choice.
In addition, Indiana and Louisiana have also made significant strides towards education reform and it is only a matter of time before more states follow suit. Betsy has mainly been involved in reform during the election cycle because she believes that the solution lies in getting the right persons elected. Thereafter, such individuals help craft pro-reform legislation. She argues that for reform to be nationwide, elected leaders must perceive it as a non-partisan or a bi-partisan issue.
Mrs. DeVos in Brief
Betsy is currently the Secretary of State for Education. For more than three decades, she has been one of the most foremost advocates of reform. Prior to her appointment as the 11th Secretary of Education, Betsy was the chairman of Windquest Group, an investment and enterprise management firm that she co-founded with her husband.
Mrs. DeVos is also the co-founder of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, a nonprofit that supports education, arts, and political organizations. She has also served in the board of several local and national civic and charitable organizations including Kids Hope USA, Mars Hill Bible Church, Kendall College of Art and Design, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and ArtPrize.