Betsy Devos has emerged on the scene in politics, shaking up the world of education. While her name might have surprised some when it showed up in conversations about the Secretary of Education appointment, those who have known Devos understand her passion for the issue. She’s not just a typical philanthropist, even though supporting ventures is a major part of what she has done. She is also a person who began to care deeply about educational policy while she was raising her children. Her role as Secretary of Education reflects her background on the issue and her desire to make lasting change.
The excellence that Devos and her husband have shown in philanthropy is possible because of her deep and long-standing passion for the issue. She began to think critically about issues in education when she noticed how hard it was to find good schools for her own children. Going out into the market and seeking a good landing spot was more difficult than she anticipated. She began to talk to parents, asking them what they thought and what issues they encountered. During this process, one recurring theme kept coming about. Those parents felt helpless and voiceless. They were presented with a few options, but few of those options were good enough for their kids. Many parents ended up choosing a school they didn’t really feel comfortable with.
Devos acknowledges that her own privilege allowed her a better opportunity to seek the right schools for her children. She was wealthy, after all, and that was a part of the problem with the Michigan school system a few decades ago. People like Devos could send their children out of the crumbling public schools, allowing those kids to get a good education and a leg up. Devos wondered what would happen to the parent who had the same desire for excellence as her without having the same access to resources. It was this feeling that drove her to get involved in educational policy.
Today, she has started to try her hand as a political fighter. It is not a natural disposition for Devos. Her interviews indicate a polite woman who is probably more comfortable in the philanthropic scene. Still, she realized that there comes a time when a person has to get involved in the nuts and bolts of policy in order to make a lasting change. She has gotten her hands a bit dirty and her nose a little bloody while fighting for the rights of parents to choose.
Across the country, these efforts are starting to pay off. Devos may not be the most popular person in Washington, but she has started to get things done. Parents in places as far ranging as New York and Louisiana have seen some changes. They are embracing a movement that allows them more freedom of choice in choosing a good school for their child. This is why Devos got started, and seeing the progress has helped to push her to do more and more.
Visit http://www.betsydevos.com/ to learn more.