Elisabeth “Betsy” Devos is currently the 11th Secretary of Education. She was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 7, 2017. Since then, she has been an active proponent of public education reform, specifically the right for parents to use state or federally funded vouchers to send their children to private schools, as opposed to public schools. She believes that socioeconomic status should not be a barrier to a child’s educational opportunities and that parents should be allowed to send their children to their school of choice.
Betsy has long been an advocate for her school choice initiative. In 1989, she and her husband, Dick Devos, founded the Dick and Betsy Devos Family Foundation, an organization that donates funds to charter and Christian schools, Christian-associated education groups, organizations that support her school choice initiative, as well as various universities and art foundations.
Prior to that she freely donated to the Potter’s House, an open-enrollment Christian school located in a low-income section of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2003, Dick and Betsy founded a political action committee called, All Children Matter, to better support her school choice initiative by funding organizations that support voucher programs. Furthermore, in 2010, Betsy helped found the American Federation for Children, an organization that politically lobbies for school choice. Additionally, she has sat on the boards of several school choice advocacy organizations.
Betsy’s advocacy for education reform didn’t happen by accident. Her own mother was a public school teacher who then encountered all the same issues that today create educational barriers for families of low socioeconomic status. Betsy’s devotion to education reform grew when she saw firsthand the difficulties at-risk children and their parents face while working as an in-school mentor in the Grand Rapids Public School system in Michigan, where she served for 15 years. Betsy has declared that her time there, working with students, their families, and teachers had, “Changed my life and my perspective about education forever.”
As a leader in the movement to empower parents to have the right to send their children wherever they choose in order for their children to receive a proper education, Betsy has worked diligently to create new educational choices for students in 25 states and the District of Columbia.
As the Secretary for Education, Betsy will work tirelessly to promote education reform by supporting the school choice and voucher programs. She firmly believes that the ZIP code in which a child lives in and a child’s household income should not be what determines what kind of education that child will receive. She will do her utmost to return control to the parents of at-risk children regarding how best to obtain a better education, providing the necessary means to place all students on the path to success.
Betsy is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Dick and Betsy have been married for over 40 years and have four children and eight grandchildren.
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