Betsy DeVos is one of the top figures in politics. She was appointed to the 11th Office of the US Education Secretary in 2017 by President Trump. Ever since, she has been the target of criticism from many educators, most of whom work in the public school system. While Trump has said that Common Core will be ended during his administration, DeVos has taken a more cautious approcah to changing education policies at the federal level.
In a recent interview, she talked to Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” about the state of education and whether she thought that her programs had any success. She talked about the length of time to see if a program was successful. After all, it’s over 30 years for standardized testing scores to rise, and DeVos still doesn’t believe that standardized testing is an accurate measure of school success.
DeVos has always fought for education reform. She grew up in a household with a mother who was a teacher, and she pursued politics, wanting to affect change around her in multiple areas. She originally joined the student government at Calvin College, and upon graduating, she worked on the Gerald R. Ford campaign. Over the years, she developed an affinity for education reform and began to champion charter schools for their ability to help students.
Educational choice is the answer for areas affected by failing schools. DeVos has been able to get students into private schools and other programs that have helped them feel better about their education and get into programs suitable for their interests. As more programs have been cut from public schools due to budget constraints, students have needed other options.
However, DeVos is humble about the success of these programs. She talks about the state of Florida’s education system, which has the most educational choice opportunities. These include magnet programs, virtual schools, homeschooling, charter schools, and private schools. It’s also the only state with a tuition-based scholarship. DeVos talks about the effects of philanthropy on education as well.
DeVos has donated $35 million to educational charities and organizations, as well as charter schools. Overall, the DeVos Family Foundation has donated over $139 million to different causes, including many cultural arts organizations, healthcare, education, and performing arts.
Since 2018, DeVos has been working on school safety as well. The need for new policies and regulations arose after gun violence in early 2018. Now, DeVos has given schools new policies to help with school safety while not yet requiring guns to be carried on campus to prevent gun violence. It’s clear that these policies will need some time to work.
DeVos will continue to work on educational choice for the next two years, hopefully bringing more choices to students in other states.
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