Betsy DeVos didn’t start out with the reform agenda she now advocates today as the new Secretary of Education. It was her experiences as a mom and as advocate for low income families in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area that spurred the interest in education reform. She noticed that many of the students she met didn’t have the same opportunities that her children had in school.
When DeVos talked to the parents of these students she realized that many desired quality education for their children. The tuition at quality schools was way out of reach. The parents also expressed their feelings that the public educational system failed their children. DeVos wanted to help these parents out of their financial situations and give them freedom to choose schools. DeVos started researching possibilities and learned about school choice.
School choice has been around for centuries in one form or another. Compulsory education and the public school system only have been around since the 1840s. When it was first implemented public compulsory education targeted low and middle class families that couldn’t afford to send their students to school. In other words compulsory education allowed children who didn’t have access to education opportunity to have it without cost. It was and still is a good way to get a basic education. Check this related article from nypost.com.
Unfortunately the quality of education decreased over the years due to a variety of factors. Students who lived in an increasingly urban area suffered the most. Betsy DeVos realized this while working with low income families in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She understood from talking with parents and from the input she received that the educational play field was lopsided against students that come from low income and urban areas.
It was her philosophy from then on to provide accessibility to those students to excel in the school of their choice. She understood then that educational reform needed to move forward to give student opportunities they couldn’t have in the public school system.
It has been an important component for DeVos to equalize the educational playfield by opening up new educational opportunities for everyone. She knew that giving control of their child’s education back to their parents would enhance educational opportunities.
DeVos hopes that the educational reform agenda that she touts will resonate with parents of school age students across the country. She believes that quality educational choices shouldn’t be hampered by where the child lives. New technological advances and the advent of cyber schools make it even easier for children to get a quality education no matter where they live. DeVos feels that students and their parents should have every opportunity to get the education they deserve. Visit dbdvfoundation.org to know more about their foundation.