In response to the State of the Union speech on February 6, 2019, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos tweeted words to the effect that education should prepare students for a successful life by developing their talents and unleashing their full potential. The right education should not be the exclusive privilege of families with wealth, power and connections.
The current system of allocating American students to a school building based on nothing more than where they live severely curtails their options for learning based on their income.
Betsy Devos and her husband Dick have devoted most of their working lives striving to level the playing field on educational opportunities. For example, over the course of their lifetimes, the pair of them have donated $138 million to Republicans and school choice causes. As a couple, they have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars and an estimable amount of time volunteering to help Potter House in Grand Rapids, Michigan, an ethnically diverse K-12 Christian school.
Betsy herself is recognized as a leading advocate for the educational choice movement. In her quest to support charter schools, home schooling, school vouchers, and any option available to give parents and students the widest possible array of choices, she has doggedly ushered legislation through Congress. She has worked to secure public funds to pay for private schools, including those of a religious nature.
Charter schools operate under performance contracts known as charters, which relieves them of restrictive regulatory practices associated with public schools while at the same time holding them accountable both academically and financially. With mission of equal opportunities for education in mind, Betsy Devos has contributed time and resources to such diverse projects as:
- Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM), a series of charter schools set up by rapper Pitbull. The SLAM schools offer high school students a comprehensive secondary school program for college through sports-related majors.
tuition-free public charter school
- West Michigan Aviation Academy, a tuition-free public charter school established by Betsy’s husband Dick in Grand Rapids. Situated on the grounds of Gerald Ford Airport, the school receives more than $7,000 annually per student from the state government. In addition to hiring four flight instructors, the school maintains a rigorous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program.
A soft target for those who demonize her for wanting to dismantle the public school system, Betsy Devos really does have her heart in the right place when it comes to providing quality education for all students.
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