Business, Charity, and Politics: Betsy DeVos Does it All

Ever since her days at Calvin College, Betsy DeVos has been involved in trying to change the status quo and helping her community. This has led to her being an advocate for school vouchers and charter schools. She has served on the boards of several charitable organizations. Her endeavors also led to her jumping into the political realm, which included a stint as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and now the Secretary of Education in President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

On her website, Betsy DeVos is described as a pioneer whose goal is to remove barriers and create environments to help people thrive. She believes this means giving parents more choices in how their children are educated. To that end, DeVos served as chairwoman of the Alliance for School Choice which, along with supporting school vouchers, also gives tax credits to businesses that offer private school scholarships. She and her husband Dick, an entrepreneur and former gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, helped with the passage of a charter schools bill in that state in 1993. DeVos also set up a foundation to provide scholarships to poor families. She also wants to see technology used more in the classroom, citing her own experience in school. DeVos said in an interview with Philanthropy Roundtable that she was bored in school, and kids today must be bored as well when they have to check their phones and devices at the classroom door. DeVos explains that technology and learning programs could make education fun. As Secretary of Education, DeVos said she wants to see more focus put on community colleges and providing more federal financial aid for year round students.

Learn more: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/01/31/512507538/under-devos-heres-how-school-choice-might-work

Along with her work in the education field, DeVos is heavily involved with many charitable organizations. She previously headed up the American Federation for Children and the Philanthropy Roundtable. DeVos also served on the boards of ArtPrize, the DeVos Institute for Arts Management, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The DeVos Foundation, created by her and her husband, not only supports educational programs and groups, but also donates money to hospitals, health research programs, the arts, and free market think tanks.

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