Over the years I have become increasingly concerned about the direction the U.S. education system was moving in as I saw firsthand how the public school system was failing students across the nation. In the 1990s, I began to become aware of the work being completed by education reformer Betsy DeVos, who I was pleased to see was finally rewarded for more than three decades of success in the education reform community with her promotion to the position of U.S. Secretary of Education; I believe the work Mrs. DeVos has completed as a reformer and as an advocate for at risk students across the state of Michigan have prepared her to take on the most significant role in the U.S. education system and show how successful some new ideas and thinking can be in repairing a failing system. Follow Betsy on Twitter.
Educated at Michigan’s Calvin College, the philanthropic career of Betsy DeVos began in earnest when her own children reached school age prompting Betsy and her husband Dick to begin touring the state of Michigan to find the best possible school for their children. Betsy has stated in interviews about her family and philanthropic work that she cannot identify a single moment when she began feeling she had to do more about the state of the public school system, initially in Michigan and later across the U.S.; instead, Betsy DeVos points to the fact her own mother was a public school teacher and the many visits Mrs. DeVos took to the Potter’s House Christian School as moments she feels were important in forming her opinions about how to move the U.S. public school system forward. I have been impressed by the way Betsy DeVos has sought to expand her own reach as an education reformer who has championed the use of charter schools, including the Michigan charter schools program that has proven to be a major success for students across the state in improving grades across the board.
Although I initially knew of the work of Betsy DeVos in terms of her education reform work I have recently discovered the newly installed Secretary of Education has a long history of success as a philanthropist in many different areas. One of the major beneficiaries of the philanthropic work of Betsy DeVos has been the arts, which Mrs. DeVos believes plays a key role in developing a well rounded community; both the Kennedy Center for the Arts and Grand Rapids, Michigan based ArtPrize have seen major donations made by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. I have been majorly impressed by the work completed by Betsy DeVos in terms of the arts as she was even appointed to the Board of the Kennedy Center at the behest of then President George W. Bush. Visit betsydevos.com to know more about Betsy.