Betsy Devos Wants to Change How Education Works

Over the years, Betsy DeVos has learned that education reform takes time and money, but when philanthropy focuses on a particular need and community, it can positively affect millions. That’s the case with educational choice reform. DeVos began working with educational choice philanthropy in the 1990s. She proposed several changes to education legislature in Michigan, and in 2017, she was appointed to the 11th Office of the US Education Secretary.


Many were fearful of someone like Betsy DeVos in office at the time. For one, she didn’t have a background in teaching. Rather, she was a businesswoman, but over the course of two years, she accepted several interviews to share her views and promote educational reform. She was criticized for her educational choice campaign, despite endorsements from Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.


One of the main issues came from the public education community. Many educators believed that DeVos would use public funding for private schools, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, she pointed out that this was wrong in her 2018 interview with Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes.” In the interview, she faced questions about whether educational choice was a success, even though she had only been in office for less than a year at the time.


It was clear that many opposed her simply because she was appointed by President Donald Trump as well. The president had promised educational reform, and he was even quoted saying that common core method would end during his administration. However, these reforms have been slow to take place. DeVos did inherit quite a few issues with America’s education system when she took the office in 2017. Many parents were complaining about students failing due to common core method curriculum in public schools, but it was also policies like standard testing funding.


In America’s schools, you are taught a curriculum based on a standardized test. If students do poorly on the standardized test, the school’s funding is re-evaluated, and they receive less resources than schools with higher test scores. The cycle is problematic as schools with no funding continue to do poorly on tests, while schools in more privileged areas have more funding and better test scores.


Educational choice is a way out for many students when there doesn’t seem to be any other options. DeVos has promoted school choice because it puts students first, in her words. She wants students to be able to go to a school where they receive the best education, especially if they are zoned for a school that is considered “failing.”


Educational choice programs include magnet schools, which are public schools with specific areas of study such as medical prep or business law. Students can also choose to go to private schools, charter schools, and virtual schools. Florida has one of the leading virtual school programs.


DeVos will need to work with state leaders to implement educational choice around the country. Right now, the most successful states include Louisiana and Florida.


Follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook.

Betsy DeVos Continues to Buck Trends as Secretary of Education

It was more than fifty years ago when a writer named Milton Friedman made his first principled argument for school choice. Friedman went on to become a rather formative writer on several major topics. Having said that, Friedman’s words hit their mark when they were consumed by Betsy DeVos during her time at Calvin College. When we say ‘Betsy DeVos’ we are, of course, talking about THE Betsy DeVos, the current Secretary of Education of the United States of America. Betsy DeVos took Friedman’s words to heart and she would use them in order to become the advocate and philanthropic leader that she is today.


As a young, recently married, adult, Betsy DeVos would spend hours on the grassroots campaign trail in order to stump for school choice. DeVos was an advocate in the 90s for education reform, long before it became the center of any major discussion in Washington D.C. During this period of time, Betsy and her husband Dick were constantly visiting schools throughout the country. Their goal was to raise awareness for school choice, the concept introduced by Milton Friedman. The idea of school choice has existed quite a ways outside of the political mainstream, that is until Betsy DeVos came along. Thanks to Betsy’s tireless work, more people than ever are up to speed on the idea of school choice. What does this mean? Well, let’s take a look at the numbers.


Since Betsy DeVos became a school choice advocate, more than 17 states have adopted some level of school choice program within their borders. Due to this surge in school choice adoption, more than 250,000 students have found their way into publicly funded, privately owned facilities. From Louisiana to Michigan, and everywhere in between, school choice has begun to drop an anchor in the mainstream political discussion. All of this progress can be laid at the feet of Betsy DeVos. What’s most impressive about this progress is that DeVos accomplished these tasks without having a title next to her name. Now, Betsy DeVos works directly under the President of the United States of America. Who knows what is coming next?


Despite having a high-level federal position, Betsy DeVos has certainly not allowed it to go to her head. Betsy DeVos is on the road as much as ever as she continues to advocate for school choice. As a dedicated reformer, Betsy DeVos knows that she has a lot of work to do before her mission is accomplished. Betsy DeVos is always flying to Florida and the surrounding states in order to speak on the subject of school choice. With this continued enthusiasm, Betsy DeVos has a real chance at making changes that impact schools on the national level.


Follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook.

End Citizens America taking measures to Save the Johnson Amendment

The past decade has been one of the most active in the American political scene. Several events in this decade have had a great impact in the direction that American political discourse has taken and will take for many years to come. Before President Donald Trump’s election to the highest office in America, the other most stunning event in the political scene had occurred in 2010. In a case pitting Citizens United against FEC, the Supreme Court of America determined that unions and corporations bore the same rights as individual citizens. Further, the highest court in the land ruled that spending money by these unions and corporations was a form of expression which is protected under the bill of rights. This effectively made it possible for such bodies to contribute money to political campaigns anonymously. Visit facebook to know more.

Realizing the potential harm that this decision could have on American political discourse, concerned citizens came together to form End Citizens America. End Citizens America is a PAC whose main mandate is to prevent the entrance of dark money into political campaigns as this Supreme Court decision had opened loopholes for this to happen. They achieve this goal by fighting against policies that threaten the stability and growth of American democracy and supporting those which enhance it.

New challenges keep coming up, especially under the current administration. The latest of these has been the current regime’s sustained attempts to either weaken the Johnson Amendment or repeal it altogether. Emboldened by a president who promised a repeal of this amendment as a part of his campaign promises, and who has already signed an executive order weakening it, Republican legislators have been making attempts to have the Johnson Amendment repealed. Such efforts are being made by slipping language into bills being introduced into Congress such as the House Financial Services appropriations bill and the tax reform bill which is currently on the table.

End Citizens America has expressed strong opposition to these attempts to repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment. This amendment, made in 1954, makes it illegal for tax-exempt non-profit organizations to openly and publicly engage in a political campaign. Organizations which fall under this bracket risk being stripped of their tax-exempt status should they be found to be in contravention to this law. Republican legislators have been making attempts to make it possible for religious organizations to be exempted from this law while the other organizations remain bound by it. This would be catastrophic to American democracy.

With the Supreme Court decision of 2010, repealing the Johnson Amendment would create a loophole for dark money to find its way into political campaigns, tax-free. Further, organizations and individuals that make contributions to tax exempted organization benefit from tax exemption as well. This would become, undoubtedly, the preferred channel for pumping dark money into political campaigns. That is why End Citizens America has vowed to save the Johnson Amendment. Read more: