Betsy DeVos: An Advocate for School Choice

For years, Betsy DeVos has been involved in educational reform. She has been actively involved in numerous political action committees, party organizations, and campaigns. For six years, she was chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, and she is also chairman of the Windquest Group, which is multi-company organization that focuses on the development of clean energy, technology, and manufacturing. In addition, she is also chairman of the Alliance for School Choice and the American Federation for Children (AFC). Mrs. DeVos is an active member of local and national boards that include Mars Hill Bible Church, the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, Kids Hope USA, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

 

During an interview, Mrs. DeVos explained that she is optimistic when it comes to the progression of school choice. She explained that there are around 250,000 students in 33 private-choice programs that are publicly funded. She also explained that she was drawn to educational reform after visiting the Potter’s House Christian School, and she was amazed with the number of parents who were doing all that they could to provide their children with an atmosphere that was safe and promoted learning. After many visits to the school, Mr. and Mrs. DeVos began supporting individual students and still support the school today.

 

Mrs. DeVos believes in using every resource available to give parents more power to control their children’s education. She believes in the use of technology for virtual learning. When she was asked about homeschooling, she stated that it was a valid option for parents who were not satisfied with the public school system. She advocates for educational choice with the use of vouchers and tax credits, which would allow parents to send their children to magnet, charter, or virtual schools.

 

Her husband founded a charter high school in Michigan that is known as the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This school is tuition-free and includes students from all over the world. Aside from traditional classes, such as math and science, students also learn aviation robotics, computer science, and more.

 

Mr. and Mrs. DeVos are heirs to fortunes and are well-known for their charitable donations. In 2015, the couple donated $11.6 million, and the family was on the Forbes list of Americas Top Givers. Forbes estimated that the family has donated $1.33 billion over the course of their contributions, which is about a quarter of their fortune of $5.2 billion.

 

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