The years of work Betsy DeVos dedicated to the fight for education reform in her home state of Michigan was handsomely rewarded not long after the election of Donald Trump as the nation’s president. President Trump handpicked Ms. DeVos to a cabinet position in his administration as the U.S. Secretary of Education.
The 59-year-old DeVos is a native of Holland, Michigan and the daughter of billionaire Edgar Prince. Husband Dick is also the heir to a billion-dollar family fortune and the two of them have worked together to have an effect on a number of causes important to the lives of Michigan residents.
A major part of Ms. DeVos’ efforts has centered around making public funds available to students and families that wish to use them to attend charter schools. These schools are most often managed by private groups but depend on public money to maintain operations. DeVos has also been supportive of the use of public funds for students wishing to attend private and religious-based institutions of education.
Those who oppose Betsy DeVos and her efforts toward charter school expansion are often critical of what they characterize as a disconnect from the public school system. Both she and husband Dick attended private schools as children. The couple’s children attended private schools as well.
The opposition has left Ms. DeVos undaunted and due in a large part to her efforts, the largest concentration of charter schools for any city in America is located in Detroit, Michigan.
A development that took place a few years ago perfectly demonstrated the willingness of Betsy DeVos to fight on behalf of charter schools. City officials for Detroit joined forces with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Michigan to give support to a bill that would close charter schools that were deemed to be ‘failures’ in the city.
Ms. DeVos created the Great Lakes Education Project and launched a fight against the bill. DeVos and GLEP emerged victorious after what at times was a quite bitter showdown.
Ms. DeVos was questioned regarding her preference for charter schools during her Senate confirmation hearings. She acknowledged an understanding that the public school system is responsible for the education of the majority of children in America and made assurances that it was not her intentions to upset that dynamic.
Shortly afterward the talk of her hostility for public schools resumed when she made comments that were interpreted as negative toward public schools in the Washington area. But what no one debates that knows Betsy DeVos is her lifelong commitment to improving the educational opportunities for children in America.
Follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook.