The political insight of Betsy DeVos is flawless. She is always able to see two steps in front of what is going to transpire and that gives her an edge when it comes to her current role as Secretary of Education. Her career has been marked with moments of aggressive controversy and joyful triumph. She is a true politician, but more importantly, she is a dedicated mother. Her interest in the field of education began long before she started to campaign for “school choice”. In the beginning, she was simply mother that wanted the best for her children and who saw parents that felt the exact same way. Early on into her children’s education, she met a couple that sacrificed everything to send their children to a prestigious private institution. They explained to her and that the private school system within their district was lackluster and this was the only way they could ensure that their child got a quality education. It was hard on them, financially, but they were willing to give up everything to give their child this opportunity. That was when Betsy DeVos truly understood the importance of education, and how empowering a quality one can be for a child’s future.
After that encounter, she became more interested in securing scholarship opportunities and alternative funding for parents like these. With these particular parents, Betsy DeVos and her husband chose to fund their child tuition through a private scholarship. It made all the difference, and she saw that there were other students out there who needed an opportunity just like this one. She started work on the Michigan board of education, where she learned how bad the public school system had become. Over time she became an expert in public schools and began her comparison to alternative education methods. She explains in her interview with Philanthropy Roundtable that she discovered how important the notion of “school choice” was going to be for the American family. Today, she is one of the biggest supporters in a movement that is now considered commonplace.
In the beginning, Philanthropy Roundtable points out that she was still very much considered a radical in this field. Betsy DeVos never saw her position as radical, but as the beginning of a major change in the field of education. Now, she has been appointed the Secretary of Education. This is given her more power to work on those political goals and pave the way for alternative education. While alternative education will not completely wipe out the public-school system, it is poised to give it a much-needed jolt of competition. Betsy DeVos believes that the sense of complacency is one of the biggest factors that are leading to the disparaging numbers witnessed by many public school systems. They are, for lack of a better word, becoming lazy because they do not feel challenged by any other system and their student population is all but guaranteed. It is her hope that politicians like her will continue to crop up and fight for this change.
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