Betsy DeVos: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education under the Trump administration has been described as tough and determined to do what she believes is right. Opposition only makes her stronger. As the secretary of education fighting for the educational needs of the nation, this is not a bad quality to possess. It seems that Trump is surrounding himself with like-minded people whose battle cry is “Make America Great Again.”

 

Ms. DeVos was born in 1958 as Elisabeth Prince and grew up on Holland, Mich. She was raised in the Christian Reformed Church and attended Calvin College on the western side of the state. As a young adult, she worked at the auto party manufacturer founded by her father, Edgar Prince. The Prince family was and is a major backer for conservative and Christian causes. The auto parts manufacturer is now a billion-dollar business. Ms. DeVos’ brother, Erik D. Prince, was the founder and CEO of the controversial private security firm Blackwater. Her husband, Dick, comes from an even wealthier family.

 

Over the years, the Devos couple has contributed billions of dollars to conservative religious and political causes. In Grand rapids, the family’s name is everywhere. The DeVos Performance Hall, the DeVos Children’s Hospital and the DeVos Center for Arts and Worship are just a few of the many organizations and buildings that bear the family’s name.

 

Ms. DeVos strongly believes in equal opportunities for all children to receive a proper education. She is an avid supporter of charter schools over public schools. For the past 30 years, she has sought public funds for vouchers to pay for tuition for private schooling that includes education in religious schools. According to her opponents, charter schools are a conservative scheme that will undermine public education by stealing resources. However, supporters state that charter schools give low-income families options for educating their children and creates a certain level of competition that encourages improvement for traditional schools.

 

Because of her efforts, Detroit the most charter schools than anywhere else in the nation. Supply exceeded demand in some places with public schools continuing to deteriorate. A bill created in 2017 to allow for the opening of new charter schools and the closing of failing ones was produced by Detroit officials and a group of bipartisan state lawmakers. A group the Ms. DeVos created, known as the Great Lakes Education Project, fought the against the bill and won. DeVos believes that the public-school system in Detroit should be shut down. Ms. DeVos is partial to private education and believes that teachers are more like puppets on a string than free agents to take initiative as they see fit. She is pushing to promote charter schools and vouchers, which allow students to use public funding to pay for private and/or religious education.

 

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