You cannot have a fundamental discussion about Donald Trump’s high-ranking government selections without at least spending some time on Betsy DeVos. Pulled seemingly from a hat out of the Michigan Republican party, DeVos comes to Washington D.C. as a true enigma. With little in the way of political history, DeVos will have the advantage of surprise at every turn against her opposition as she seeks to fundamentally change the Department of Education. Donald Trump campaigned on giving a voice to outsiders, and Betsy DeVos comes firmly from the outside of Washington D.C.’s political circle. As the Secretary of Education, DeVos is in charge of the future of America’s educational system and for that reason a closer look at her history and her future is necessary.
Betsy DeVos was born and raised in Holland, MI. Born into a wealthy family and raised in a conservative Dutch neighborhood, it was clear early on which way DeVos would wind up in the political world. DeVos was involved with conservative and Christian teachings from childhood and she used that as a roadmap for the rest of her life, eventually ending up at Calvin College where she’d really hone her political acumen. While at school, DeVos would become a devoted fan to the writings of Milton Friedman — the man who penned the papers that would form the backbone of the school choice movement. DeVos would get on board with Friedman’s writing and it would be her steadfast work in the political arena that would eventually make school choice as popular as it is today. DeVos proudly states, “Today there are about 250,000 students in 33 publicly funded, private-choice programs in 17 states and the District of Columbia.” The rise of private-choice/voucher school systems can be laid almost directly at the feet of Betsy DeVos.
What informs Betsy Devos and her work in the political arena is her steadfast and absolute focus on the future of her children and those around the country. DeVos points to the struggles that public schools run into by statin, “In fact, let’s be clear, in many cases, they are failing.” She also cites this situation as a primary reason that more parents are becoming open to school choice. If Betsy DeVos is going to make a difference in the Department of Education, it is clearly going to be with this subject informing her work. We can only look to the next three years to see where DeVos will end up, but the signs are pointing to making changes.