Betsy Devos – on topic article

Many people in Betsy DeVos’s home state of Michigan were rooting for her when when it was announced that she was nominated as Education Secretary for the Trump Administration. But the road has been rocky to say the least. Beginning with her confirmation hearing DeVos had a few missteps. Many were holding their breath to see if she would get enough votes to be approved. She was approved by a razor edge vote of 51-50.


But regardless of what you may think about DeVos, even her critics say she’s there to learn. While she may come off as plain-spoken, her foes are urged not to take her for granted. “She’s a fighter,” says former Michigan state attorney general Mike Cox. “A lot of people don’t seem to understand that she wields a lot of power.”


DeVos and her husband, Dick DeVos, heir to the Amway fortune, have a lot of political clout. Mrs. DeVos was born in Holland, Michigan to ultra-wealthy billionaire industrialist Edgar Prince. She married into an even wealthier family with the DeVoses. The family has money to steer legislation in their favor. They have a long history of favoring allies and punishing political foes.


DeVos made her bones on school choice in the state of Michigan. She and her husband are huge supporters of charter schools and voucher programs. DeVos has expressed her belief in children of all socioeconomic backgrounds receiving a good education. But her critics say she is destroying education in Michigan.


Randi Weingarten, President of the National Association of Teachers says DeVos is doing everything she can to destroy public schools. Betsy DeVos vehemently denies this, saying that charter schools have a right to receive a share of funding. The problem with the charter schools is, according to the latest data, are failing miserably.


DeVos’s critics say the schools are running amuck with no one at the wheel. The schools are all for-profit and there is very little oversight. In fact, the Detroit public schools are also continuing to flounder. Both the Michigan charter and public schools are among the worst in the nation.


Some don’t have a lot of confidence that DeVos can do much in terms of turning education around. When using the measuring stick of what is happening in her home state, most people believe not much will change.


But one of her first orders of duty after her nomination was to reach out to Weingarten. They plan to tour area D.C. schools in the near future.


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The impact of Dick and Betsy Devos on policies

A proposal was publicly laid out in Grand Rapids to construct an all-purpose sports and convention facility in the north of downtown in the year 1991. Dick DeVos was against the idea. During this time, Dick DeVos was on his way to becoming the CEO of a company owned by his family (Amway Corp). According to DeVos, the convention center was a threat to downtown Grand Rapids. He feared since the establishment of the Palace of Auburn Hills and Pontiac Silverdome in the 1970s had negatively affected Detroit when the Pistons and Lions left the city.


As a result of DeVos’ opposition to the sports facility outside the Central Business District, a group of business leaders formed Grand Action. These business leaders were the ones behind the construction of various facilities, the DeVos Place Convention Center, Van Andel Arena, the Grand Rapids City Market included as well as the medical school at Michigan State University and the DeVos Performance Hall.


The DeVos’ spent a lot of their time as adults trying to change policies as well as institutions. This comes after they inherited the fortunes of their family. Their impact in political affairs has contributed to alterations in many laws of the state affecting labor and education. Betsy DeVos succeeded in the fight for the expansion of Charter schools. The conversion of Michigan from the birthplace of organized labor into an institution where employees no longer required union membership was as a result of the 2012 law engineered by Dick DeVos.


$138.7 million was given away to human services, churches, education reforms centered policies, private school scholarships, arts and culture and leadership programs. This was from 1989 to 2015 as reported by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. Dick and Betsy DeVos made a $12.5 million donation towards the establishment of a pediatric hospital named after Helen DeVos, Dick’s mother and wife of Richard DeVos, founder of Amway.


One of the most significant initiatives of the DeVos’ has been education reforms. Dick DeVos is the founder of a charter high school found at the Grand Rapids International Airport. According to Betsy, their advocacy has been aimed at providing children from low-income families with access the same opportunities as their kids had. However, their efforts to gain support for their philosophies from the public have always been futile. The constitutional amendment to have tax created vouchers given to students attending private schools was rejected by voters in 2000. Dick DeVos lost a gubernatorial campaign to his opponent Jennifer Granholm six years later.


Dick and Betsy DeVos did not quit, but instead, they took their private school vouchers’ advocacy to other regions in the country. Currently, some form of vouchers for private schools are offered in twenty-four states and Columbia. President Donald Trump cited pointed out her advocacy for schools as a reason for appointing Betsy, the secretary for education. Through an intense debate over the influence of school choice programs on the operations of public schools, the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed her.


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