Betsy DeVos is one of the most polarizing figures in Washington today. The 11th US Education Secretary was appointed in 2017 and has been on a non-stop campaign trail ever since. It seems like many people are unsure about her policies, including educational choice and private school vouchers. However, DeVos has always said that public funding isn’t used for private schools. She explained in a recent interview with Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes,” that she’s only been working to help students.
DeVos has said that her only goal is to put students first. She wrote a bill in the early 2000s that spoke to this. It was called the “Kids First!” Coalition. This bill was new and still in its infancy. The bill would set up more educational choice programs for schools in Western Michigan. However, the state didn’t ratify the bill, coming in just shy of the votes needed.
DeVos has been working ever since to get more support for educational choice. She is working with the First Lady Melania Trump to campaign for educational choice in the south as well. They are currently visiting Florida and Miami to do a round of tours and see different schools.
For most of her life, DeVos has worked in school reform, but she has never been this close to the top. It’s hard for her to believe that she is in the position she’s in considering how long it took to get there. She worked for many years as the Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party before taking the position.
In addition to education reform, DeVos was put in charge of school safety reform by President Trump following the school shootings in Parkland. DeVos has been working with security officials and leaders to come up with better solutions for gun control on campuses. In addition, new policies were put in place in 2018 before the new school year. It looks like these policies are working.
DeVos has been criticized heavily for wanting to use public funding for private schools, but she contends that isn’t the case. Her whole platform is actually about the good work of philanthropy and how it can help private schools grow. She has been working with a myriad of donors through the DeVos Family Foundation, so it’s unlikely that she would give up her dream now.
As for what programs are successful since taking office? DeVos believes that she needs more time to work with state leaders. She’ll have less than two years to make these changes before the administration goes into election mode.
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