Betsy DeVos’s Philanthropic Efforts Center Around Educational Choice

Born in Michigan on January 8, 1958, Betsy Prince was raised by parents who devoted their lives to philanthropic giving. Her dad, Edgar Prince, owned The Prince Corporations and her parents founded The Prince Foundation. When Interview with Betsy DeVos, The Reformer | Excellence in Philanthropy , She was a student at Calvin College she became interested in politics. After graduation she married her husband Dick DeVos, who shared her interests. Together they have supported improving the education for low income families both financially and through their hard work. In February of this year, after many years of advocating for educational reform, Betsy was elected U.S. Secretary of Education.From campus politics to educational reform, Betsy DeVos has made great strides in pursuing her goals for better educational opportunities, and she and her husband have donated millions of dollars to promote educational choice, charter schools, scholarships and voucher programs in schools. In the 1990’s she was elected the Republican’s Committee Woman for the state of Michigan. She also chaired the All Children Matter Action Committee, and was the chairwoman for the Alliance for School Choice.

Because of the donations from the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, many educational organizations have grown and prospered. Their philanthropic giving includes donations of millions of dollars to charter schools and Christian schools, the arts such as the JFK Center for Performing Arts, the Boy Scouts, many colleges and universities and charitable nonprofit agencies across America. The foundation has also supported churches, clean air groups, manufacturing, computer technology, and other companies in the U.S.Dick DeVos’s father, Richard, co-founded Amway with Betsy’s husband Dick as the CEO. The DeVos family’s philanthropic giving has been a lifetime achievement of educational improvements, growth and change. Low income families can now afford to send their children to charter schools that they feels are best for their children because of scholarships from the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. In Florida, Michigan and other states across the country, high quality education is now available. Charter schools offer a special kind of education to their students.

High school student’s educational opportunities include learning job related skills to enable them to prepare them for career they will enjoy. They learn through a hands on approach and are offered opportunities that many public schools do not offer. There is greater importance placed on subjects such as reading, math, science and computers.Earlier this year Betsy Devos’s attendance at the Parent Roundtable was beneficial to parent’s of children with special needs. Recognizing Autism Awareness, Betsy emphasized the need for informational groups and tools needed to help support parent’s efforts regarding their children’s education. At a previous Roundtable interview, Betsy explained the need for more educational choices for children, especially those from low income families.

Equaling the Educational Playfield and Striving for Educational Quality for Everyone: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

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.