Betsy Devos – on topic article

There are those who have underestimated Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos. But don’t let that polite, easy-going demeanor fool you; she’s a fighter. And her hardcore, conservative stance on education is something she fails to budge on. Learn more:


DeVos was born in Holland, Michigan. A close-knit Dutch community that stays true to its strict Calvin theologies. Her father, industrialist Edgar Prince was a rich billionaire, who taught DeVos to always stand on principles.


Even throughout college, DeVos was involved in campus politics. Education was always at the forefront. She was always thinking of ways to better it for children who lacked the financial means. Both she, and her husband, Dick DeVos, son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, have always felt this way about education and many other initiatives in Michigan.


In 2006, she fought hard to help her husband unseat incumbent Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D). While it seemed that the Republicans had Granholm on the ropes, she ultimately came out victorious.


Through their rich family ties, they have wielded a great deal of power and political clout. DeVos served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party for nearly 10 years.


She pushed for school choice — not a popular stance in Michigan in the 90s. It was DeVos’s idea that children who lived in deprived districts have the opportunity to receive vouchers to go better schools. She even tried to get it passed into law; it failed.


But that didn’t stop her. She managed to carry her message to schools in surrounding states. Now 24 states accomplished what she couldn’t in Michigan: charter schools or voucher programs.


While DeVos failed to get certain laws passed in Michigan, she has successfully help the state see the largest number of charter schools in the nation. Her stance has come under a great deal of criticism from political foes.


Opponents believe her ideas are only making the issue of improving education worse. For example, charter schools in Michigan are among the worst performing in the nation. There is no oversight, which has led to a great deal of chaos. On the flip side, public school continue to deteriorate.


A number of educators, including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, believe DeVos’s hostility to education may be her undoing. “She is as dangerous as she is plainspoken. There are a number of laws she didn’t want to go into effect because she simply wanted to see public schools fail,” said Weingarten.


Since her senate confirmation, she has done her best to reach out to opponents, including Weingarten and National Education Association President Lily Eskelen Garcia.


All three plan on visiting schools together and work toward a common goal.

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