Betsy DeVos: A Lifetime of Innovative Educational Leadership
Betsy DeVos has been a leader in education for many years. From her involvement in politics at Calvin College to her extensive work on political action committees, DeVos has remained committed to making a difference. She has facilitated change through numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, the Kennedy Center’s DeVos Institute for Arts Management, the Alliance for School Choice and the American Federation for Children, among others.
Mrs. Devos has spoken about her optimism concerning private-choice programs that are publicly funded. There are 33 of these programs with approximately 250,000 students across the District of Columbia and 17 states. DeVos recognizes the popularity of these programs, particularly given the challenges within public schools that are often failing. It’s an issue that has made more people aware of private-choice programs offering tax credits, vouchers and education savings accounts.
Mrs. DeVos has spoken about the inspiration that she received years ago when her children were in grade school. While visiting the Potter’s House Christian School in Grand Rapids, she observed an electric and loving educational environment in a low-income neighborhood where children were safe to explore their curiosity. After many visits to the school, she and her husband Dick supported students at increasing levels. During this timeframe, DeVos was on various boards, such as the American Education Reform Council and Children First America.
Mrs. DeVos and her husband were instrumental in the passing of a charter school bill in Michigan back in 1993. It was the state’s first charter school bill. To support education reform, she started the Great Lakes Education Project, which is a political action committee. The goal of the committee was to expand charter schools in Michigan. Mrs. DeVos supports an educational system that does not assign a student to a school solely based on zip code.
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