A young Elisabeth Prince, Betsy DeVos, became interested in politics while attending Calvin College almost 30 years ago and today her interest is as high as it was then. Over the years she has led many campaigns, party organizations, and political action committees. Perhaps most noteworthy, Betsy served as the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for six years. Betsy DeVos and her husband Richard have long sought solutions to social problems, founding the Windquest Group in 1989 to invest in technology, manufacturing, and clean energy, Betsy serves as chairman of the group. She is also the head of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, where she pursues reform through many nonprofit organizations. Her charitable contributions include support for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Kids Hope USA, Mars Hill Bible Church, and many others. Betsy is a long-time supporter of educational reform, and in that capacity, she is the chairman of the American Federation for Children and the Alliance for School Choice. Read her interview with Philantrophy Table.
In a recent interview, Betsy, when asked how she felt about the progress of school choice since Wisconsin started the first school choice voucher program in the United States. Betsy Devos noted with optimism, in the 25 years since this landmark program began there are now over 250,000 students in 33 publicly funded, programs operating in 17 states. The program grew by another 40,000 last year, and the program has expanded to several new states, including Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Mississippi along with several others. Betsy attributes this growth to the fact people are becoming aware that public schools are not working, and in some cases are failing. When asked what got her interested in school choice, she explained it was a gradual process that did not happen overnight, starting when she and her husband were enrolling their children in a Christian school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While at the school they met parents who were struggling to keep their children in a school that offered a safe, friendly learning atmosphere. During return visits to the school, they realized how fortunate they were to be able to send their children to any school they wanted and slowly began exploring ways to help parents, that were not as lucky, to offer their children the same opportunities. This experience led to her life-long devotion to the cause of school choice.
Today, Betsy DeVos is the 11th U.S. secretary of education, nominated by President Donald J. Trump and confirmed by the Senate on February 7, 2017. Betsy continues to be an advocate for children and a voice for parents in her unwavering desire to provide quality education for every child. In her capacity as the secretary, she will work with President Trump to advocate for equal educational opportunities for every student. Read more news on Cleveland.com.