Betsy DeVos burst on the scene in Washington D.C. seemingly out of nowhere. For years she had labored as the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, a spot of prestige but not one of much public recognition. In appointing Betsy DeVos to the Secretary of Education position, Donald Trump lived up to his promise of bringing outsiders into Washington D.C. Betsy DeVos’s appointment rocked much of Washington D.C. due in large part to how unexpected it was. However, as you will soon read, the move was as calculated as it was effective. Betsy DeVos comes into Washington D.C. armed with an outsiders toughness and an insiders ability to effectively plot the course to the actualization of change.
When Betsy DeVos was appointed to the position of Secretary of Education, many people in the public simply shrugged their shoulders. DeVos never made much of a public footprint during her years in Michigan politics, but she had established herself as a champion for the school choice system that had been touted by Milton Friedman. In fact, thanks in large part to DeVos’ hard work, Friedman’s concept of the private-choice school system had become closer to reality than it ever had been before.
A sit-down conversation with Betsy DeVos about her goals in Washington D.C. reveals a laser-focus and a calm demeanor. DeVos clearly cares deeply about the rights of families and their student children to find the best educational opportunities available. In a sitdown session with Philanthropy Roundtable, DeVos espouses how her heart broke for children struggling in poorly-funded and poorly-maintained public schools. DeVos went on to explain how a chance meeting at a private-choice school changed her perception completely. DeVos says, “When Dick and I had school-age children ourselves, we visited the Potter’s House Christian School.” DeVos cites this experience as a formative one in her pursuit of improving education on a more national scale, while also reducing the involvement of the government.
Of course, DeVos didn’t go straight from the Potter’s House Christian School into the political arena. She first worked alongside a pair of 501(C)(3) charities which included the Children First America and American Education Reform Council. Betsy and her husband, Dick DeVos, used these experiences to lay a foundation from which they’ve continued to build on their knowledge and expertise. With Betsy DeVos in the ear of President Trump, this experience can be rendered into real change.