When some people hear the name Devos, they think about Donald Trump and the new administration. While that might be what Betsy Devos is known for today, it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, the Devos name was originally associated with the charitable works of Betsy and her husband Dick. It was also associated with Dick’s work history and his efforts to rebuild his native Grand Rapids. While the political notoriety is new, the Devos crew has long been fighting for education, urban revitalization and other quality ventures in the community.
Dick Devos made his money with Amway, the sales giant. With the ability to do something good with his money, he decided to invest it where he could see it. Grand Rapids needed an influx of cash. The downtown area was falling apart, and jobs were leaving the community. What he saw there was something that his wife saw also. They saw that the lack of hope and opportunity in Grand Rapids and elsewhere had to be fought on multiple fronts. This is why he invested in a new arena, several new buildings and a new arts center. At the end of the day, Grand Rapids was re-born into something bigger, better and much more impressive. It’s now known for the Devoses and their efforts, but the two of them just believed they were allowing the natural potential of the place to come alive.
That is what Betsy Devos has seen in the education world, too. Those big, new downtown buildings are useless if there isn’t a good education system to fill them with people who have skills and knowledge. When Betsy and Dick were looking to send their own kids to school, they noticed that parents just have a lack of quality choices. Parents have to choose from the best of the worst, being stuck with failing public schools. Many people cannot afford to do what the Devoses did, which was send their kids to private schools. With this in mind, the Devos crew began working for school choice and vouchers. They wanted parents to have the options they had in choosing the right school.
Whether it’s been in business, in rebuilding a community or in working for educational reform, Betsy and Dick Devos have made an impact both locally and abroad. What started with efforts to educate their own kids and rebuild their own city have spread nationally. Their efforts have led to reform movements all over the country. Dozens of states have adopted some kind of school voucher system, largely because of the work of the Devos family. Now, people have more opportunity to do the things they were meant to do, just as Betsy and Dick envisioned in the beginning.
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Early into President Trump’s tenure he announced the polarizing decision to install Betsy DeVos into the office of Secretary of Education. Some members of the public immediately felt shock and terror at her appointment, while others understood that she was exactly what the country needed to help the education system. The reason why she is vital to the future of the education system is because she is not afraid of change. She has never been one to shy away from the tough decisions that are necessary to catalyze growth. Unfortunately, the public school system is not known for its significant standards of growth. The people who were excited about her appointment knew that she was going to take the first steps necessary to change the problems that have been growing in the education system of the United States.
Some people don’t want to hear it, but the United States education centers have been in a steady decline for some years now. Instead of being one of the best or greatest in the world, the United States has now fallen well short of its European counterparts when it comes to education standards. Students are being outperformed on a global basis in most subjects. Betsy DeVos has seen this problem and she wants parents to take more of an active role in this problem. Instead of clinging to a dying system she wants them to look into alternative methods of educating their children. If they must keep their children in the public school system parents can do more to enrich their children’s learning.
She explains her stance to Philanthropy Roundtable in a previous interview. She is an advocate for a movement called “school choice”. “School choice” is the notion that parents should be able to enroll their children in any educational institution that they want instead of being forced to strictly adhere to the guidelines of their local school districts. She has pushed parents to look at alternative methods of education for much of her career. Her original goal was to help empower parents to make decisions about the way that their children are being educated but now she is interested in overhauling the entire system. As Secretary of Education, she has more power to change the emphasis of a public school system towards one that is more accepting of alternative education methods. Betsy DeVos stresses the importance of a privatized standard of education. Not only will it push the public school system to do better to attract students, but it can give those students that relocate into those facilities a better chance at a future. While the United States may not be competitive in education at this time, but with Betsy DeVos at the helm, it will be back on top in no time.
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Mrs. Betsy DeVos is an incredibly passionate woman. She currently leads America’s educational reform system by serving as the United States Secretary of Education. She is the 11th person to hold that role. Outside of her job and her other roles she is known as a major reformer. She is a crusader for change and chooses to focus her passion for change on education in the United States.
Her drive for change began when she was a young woman at Calvin College. She first found the spark to drive change by seeing how much she was able to accomplish within her own college campus.
Since her college days she has worked for more than three decades to bring about reform. She is known as a woman who not only is willing to cross party lines to bring about change, but who consistently puts education first, even before all of the politics that can often drive a wedge that brings change to a hault. For those three decades she has led several incredibly successful political campaigns, spearheaded multiple political action committees and was also an integral piece of multiple party organizations that sought to bring about change.
She is married to Dick DeVos who was a past Republican nominee to become the Governor of Michigan. The two are a truly dynamic duo and together are known as being innovators who look for creative ways to bring about social change. For Mrs. DeVos, in particular, that change is focused on the education sector.
Mrs. DeVos is also incredibly active in the philanthropic community. She and her husband built the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The Foundation contributes to a wide variety of charities, many of those educational. Mrs. DeVos also holds prestigious board seats for many charities, including the Mars Hill Bible Church, Kids Hope USA, the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the Kennedy Center and the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She also currently serves as the chair person for the American Federation for Children as well as the Alliance for School Choice in America. School choice is something both she and her husband are incredibly passionate about.
The two saw the importance of allowing families to have school choice when they first began looking for schools for their own children. The two realized that while they were incredibly blessed to be able to choose any school they wanted for their kids, many people didn’t have that option. They came upon the Potter’s House Christian School in Grand Rapids. The Potter’s House Christian School typically serves underprivileged kids from low income families. The DeVos family sponsors children whose families couldn’t afford to send their children there and provide them with scholarships.
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