The Latest from Betsy Devos: Education Reform & Philanthropy Work Together

Have you seen the news in Washington? The new 11th US Secretary of Education has been receiving quite a lot of press. While it’s clear that she has a different view of education reform, her nomination was supported by most of the Republican Party, and she has done something incredible with education in just a short period of time.


Devos has always been an education activist for many years, ever since her time at Calvin College. She was already active in the Republican Party at that time. She would eventually become the Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. During her time in Michigan, she would fight for education reform and even propose “Kids First!” Coalition as well as a number of other changes to the education system.


To this day, Betsy fights for education reform. She doesn’t believe in standardized testing as the end-all-be-all for education reform, and she doesn’t believe in Common Core, a shared sentiment with President Trump. As he stated publicly, the President wants to end Common Core during his administration.


However, the fight continues by state for Betsy Devos. She has been campaigning across the United States, working with education leaders to implement educational choice policies. It has been difficult. She answered questions about the reasons why in a “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl.


Devos attributes much of the success of educational choice to philanthropy, which has largely supported programs in different states where Devos has been successful in implementing educational choice policies. She states that Florida is the most successful due to its state-based tuition scholarship program. Any student can apply for the grant, which allows them to pay for private school if accepted.


Many students have been able to get out of failing school zones, where the choice of school is decided by zip codes, simply by using educational choice. Devos states that it’s not all about private vouchers either. Students can choose to go to a magnet program, or they can opt for a virtual school or homeschooling program.


After the Parkland shooting, Devos was also put in charge of school safety reforms. These reforms led to multiple changes at public schools and private schools in the summer of 2018, which was to help prepare for the 2018-2019 season. Devos has been instrumental in the school safety reform efforts, and she doesn’t believe that guns should be allowed on campus.


It will be interesting to see what Devos is able to accomplish in the next years. She has been able to garner some success from these new programs in Florida and Louisiana. She will have to continue to work with states individually to see more progress.


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