What makes Betsy DeVos, the newly confirmed Secretary of Education, so special is that she has been fighting to make an impact in the realm of education far longer than she has been actively seeking office. In fact, Betsy DeVos has never actually been one to seek office. Betsy DeVos was born and raised in Michigan to a family that had found massive success through their own private ventures. Her brother, Erik Prince, became a billionaire with the Blackwater private security firm and her father has his own auto parts company. So, with a relatively low profile to her name, outside of her family, what put her on the radar for President Trump to bring her into the fold of his administration? That’s exactly what we are going to focus on today.
Betsy DeVos is, in many ways, the ideal choice for a position like the Secretary of Education. Despite her lacking political experience, Betsy DeVos has taken it upon herself to fight for what she believes is right throughout her entire life. DeVos has spent the past thirty years trying to bring about educational reform to the country, going so far as to start two different charities as well as a movement for a constitutional amendment to endorse school choice. School choice, by the way, is the most common viewpoint that Betsy DeVos has championed throughout her life. School choice has risen from relative obscurity all the way into becoming the face of the conservative stance on education.
School choice, also known as the voucher system, is all about taking control from the government and putting it into the hands of the personal citizen. Betsy DeVos believes that families should be in complete control of the educational standards and proceedings of their children and that the government should not have as much say or as much sway in the process. Betsy DeVos isn’t alone in thinking this, either, as she based the idea off of the writings of Milton Friedman, more specifically, his essay titled, ‘The Role of Government in Education.’
Knowing what you believe in and acting to make it a reality are two pretty different things that require two very different levels of effort. Betsy DeVos championed school choice when no one else would and now she is poised to take it to the federal level in order to make it a true reality. DeVos knows that she’ll have to fight tooth and nail as a member of the federal government in order to continue her push toward making school choice a federal reality but she also knows that it is the only way to find success. With that said, DeVos remains ever-optimistic.
In Washington D.C., Betsy DeVos is going to be treated like a complete newcomer and this could lead to veteran politicians trying to take advantage of her. Trying this would not be wise, at least to teacher’s union president Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers. Weingarten says, “There is a real tendency to underestimate her.”
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