Betsy DeVos, formerly known as Betsy Prince is one of the most well-known defenders or school-of-choice. Upon the election of Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016, it was announced that she would become the next the US Secretary of Education. The confirmation hearing was a long one that had a tough partisan battles embroiled in it. But after Vice President Mike Pence’s vote broke the deadlock, Betsy became confirmed as head of the Department of Education. The work that prompted President Trump to select her for the position goes back to her days as a political activist on the campus of Calvin College.
Betsy DeVos was born in 1958 to the wealthy Prince family in Holland, MI. Her father, Edgar Prince started up Prince Corporation, a former die-cast machine manufacturing company later turned to auto parts supplier. She attended political events at Calvin College where she supported conservative principles and started taking an interest in education reform. She became married to Dick DeVos Jr. and as a parent of four, she understood just how important school-of-choice is to US education. One of the first schools that she and Dick began to support was Potter’s House, which their foundation still funds to this day.
It was through the foundation that she and Dick founded Education Freedom Fund, a scholarship and grant program that matched grants given by Children’s Scholarship Fund for operating costs for small schools. Through this program needy families have been able to save on living expenses and tuition. To bring even more freedom of education initiatives to the table, Betsy and Dick campaigned for private school vouchers and tax credits in the Michigan constitution. It was voted down in the 2000 election, but it only inspired Betsy DeVos to do more for private education. DeVos then began starting charter school organizations and then in 2010 became a founder of the West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Betsy DeVos has been a businesswoman and investor who along with Dick DeVos began investing in clean energy and new technology businesses with The Windquest Group. In 1996 she won election to the Michigan Republican Party chair. After only four years she stepped down because she felt the position was too much following without enough leading, but in 2004 she returned to the position to take on issues that then Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm was proposing. She and Dick were the donors behind a campaign for right-to-work in 2012 and her nomination for US Secretary of Education was a surprising move from then President-elect Donald Trump whom she had opposed in the primaries. But upon hearing that Trump chose her, she expressed gratitude and expressed her desire to work with the administration. Visit the website U.S. Department of Education to know more.