Betsy DeVos And The Importance Of School Choice

When you talk about education reform, it wouldn’t be unkind to assume that your mind first went to liberal or progressive policies. For decades, it has seemed like progressives have been the sole navigators of the educational system. While this is probably not entirely accurate, it serves well enough to paint the portrait that Betsy DeVos is looking to change. Recently nominated and confirmed by the Senate, DeVos is taking up her position as the Secretary of Education for the Trump Administration. As a staunch conservative and devout reformer, Betsy DeVos will be bringing education reform back under the umbrella of conservative policy. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what Betsy DeVos is aiming to do with her years in office.


To get a full handle on Betsy DeVos, what she wants to do and where she comes from, you’d have to go back to the state of Michigan. Born and raised in the town of Holland, Betsy DeVos was raised in a family of reformers. She grew up knowing full-well the importance of family, faith and conservative values. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to know that Betsy DeVos would attend Calvin College and fall in love with the works of Milton Friedman as many conservatives are prone to do. What WOULD surprise people is that Betsy DeVos was not satisfied with merely being a fan of conservative education reform, she wanted to also be the engine that made it happen.


For the past 30 years, Betsy DeVos has been working tirelessly in order to bring school choice out into the mainstream and into public consumption. Originally made popular by the works of Milton Friedman, who penned a paper on the subject more than 50 years ago, DeVos has given the concept new life in conservative circles around the country. In fact, over the past 30 years, she has been solely responsible for opening up school choice institutions throughout the Midwest, making Michigan a leader in the system as a result. Now, more than 250,000 students are enrolled in school choice programs. DeVos did all of this as a private citizen, never holding a federal position until now.


School choice, for the uninitiated, is all about bringing a level playing ground back to the field of education. Right now, the federal government is solely focused on providing public funding to public education. DeVos thinks that this is the wrong way to go as it limits the power that parents have over the kind of education their children receives. School choice insists that public funding is spread around equally between home schools, charter schools, private schools, and public schools. The goal with school choice is to give parents the ability to find the right learning environment for their children.


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