Betsy Devos and the Educational Choice Movement

Most people have seen Betsy Devos in action. She is the 11th US Education Secretary, and she has proven to be tough as nails in America’s heated political climate. She has taken on interview after interview in defense of her plan for education reform. While many have criticized her for having a background in business, that’s actually not the case. Betsy Devos has always been in the education world, and she has always been a philanthropist. The Devos Family Foundation has contributed over $135 million to various cultural, educational, and healthcare interests, including building a medical school and donating to several charter schools.


Betsy Devos promotes a platform around educational choice. She answered some tough questions from Leslie Stahl in a recent interview with “60 Minutes.” The interview challenged her ideas of success for the programs, but Devos remained firm. She stated that Florida has been one of the most successful states for educational choice. However, there was also Louisiana.


Devos has been working with the states to try and make more changes to each for educational choice, but it has been a battle. Most systems are accustomed to keeping children in their designated school zones, but Devos wants to change all of that. She wants to give students and parents the option of sending their kids to a better school.


Educational choice is largely misunderstood, according to Devos. She stated that most children are in failing school districts because they do not have access to resources. She has been working to change that in every state. Educational choice would mean that students have the option to go to magnet school programs, homeschooling programs, virtual schools, charter schools, and private schools. This is where some have an issue as they believe that public funding will go to private education.


However, Devos points out that philanthropy has been supporting the educational choice movement. In fact, Florida has the most educational choice options as well as a tuition-based scholarship fund. These are the things that have helped students get a better education there.


Devos says that she needs more time to determine and measure the success of the programs. She has another two years to make changes and hopefully focus more states around educational choice options.


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