Meet Betsy DeVos, Our New Secretary of Education

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The Educator's Room is a daily website dedicated to showing that teachers are the experts in education. If you are interested in submitting a piece for publication, please send a draft to info@theeducatorsroom.com.

Today it was announced that President-Elect Donald Trump has chosen Betsy DeVos, a top Republican Donor, and School Choice Advocate to head the Department of Education. As teachers, we’ve already had a contentious relationship with the two predecessors to the job, but before we get into policy, it’s important to understand who Betsy DeVoe is and what she MAY bring to the national office.

Here you will find a truncated list of what we know about her as of today:

  1. Mrs. DeVos’ father,Edgar Prince, built his own auto parts supplier, in Holland, Michigan.
  2. Her brother, Erik Prince, founded Blackwater USA, a private security contractor.
  3. She currently serves as the Chair of the American Federation for Children,a Washington, D.C.-based single-issue organization  that promotes charter school education.
  4. DeVos serves on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a group led by former Florida Governor. Jeb Bush. Note: This should be interesting since the younger Bush was one’s Trump’s opponents in the primaries and openly promotes not only school choice but also the Common Core standards.
DeVos serves on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Click To Tweet

5. According to the New York Times, Mrs. DeVos openly criticized Trump during the primaries            and spent time raising money for other candidates.

6.  Betsy DeVos and her family are considered Michigan royalty. The DeVos family are heirs to            the Amway fortune and in the last  three elections (2012, 2008, 2004), members of the family             gave nearly $9.5 million to party committees and candidates. Note: The DeVos family gave                 nearly 1.4  million in 2 months before the August 2nd primary.

7. According to the Detroit News,  in 2000, Betsy and Dick DeVos-funded an unsuccessful                    statewide ballot initiative to amend the state Constitution to allow tax dollars to be used for                private school tuition through education vouchers

8.In addition, her husband Dick DeVos unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Michigan in 2006.

9.In 2012, Dick DeVos led the charge in getting the Legislature to make Michigan a right-to-                  work  state. Ultimately, eliminating work rules that made financial support of unions a                          condition of employment for teachers in public schools.

10.Betty and Dick DeVos founded their own charter high school, the West Michigan Aviation                Academy, located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids.

Betsy and Dick DeVos founded their own charter high school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy, Click To Tweet

As we wait to see what Mrs. DeVos will actually do for ALL stakeholders in education, here are some initial reactions from writers at The Educator’s Room.

“Education continues to be run by people who have never been in a classroom. Just once I would like to see someone with real world classroom experience be part of the system making laws about education. Someone who has been in the trenches. Someone who loves the kids. Not a millionaire who just sends her children to a private school then makes laws affecting my students everyday.”

“Well, there goes public education.”

“I suppose in one way, as Diane Ravitch has said, this will put education privatizers out in the open instead of operating in the shadows, and we will see what that truly means for universal free education for all students in the country.”  

“She has done nothing for public schools in Michigan but advocate for charter schools and vouchers.”

“I’m disheartened that once again there is someone chosen as Secretary of Education who have NO real experience in American Classroom. Shame on elected official who confirms this nomination.” 

“With this pick, the trend of politicians with no experience in a classroom or public education in general continues. To appoint someone who lacks the sensitivity and understanding that our students need from their teachers flies in the face of everything we stand for. If people or this upcoming administration wants to help out public schools, real leadership from the classroom is needed.”

A right turn away from the philosophy of Mark Twain, “We believe that out of the public school grows the greatness of a nation.

 

Betty Devos

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By | 2016-11-23T22:39:33+00:00 November 23rd, 2016|#36WeeksOfTech, Charter School Diaries, Current Events in Education|8 Comments

About the Author:

The Educator's Room is a daily website dedicated to showing that teachers are the experts in education. If you are interested in submitting a piece for publication, please send a draft to info@theeducatorsroom.com.

8 Comments

  1. angry teacher November 23, 2016 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Well royalty will go to royalty and step on the backs of the workers as usual -did we expect anything else?

  2. kwin November 23, 2016 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Note the Masonic handshake… I’m a retired Michigan educator. When I heard that Trump chose DeVos I literally felt ill…

  3. margaret diamond November 23, 2016 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    For quite some time the education of US students has not shown any improvement, in fact it has been in decline compared with other nation’s students. We are on a 3rd world level. I am not opposed to seeing someone from a Charter School background in this position. Our Public Schools need a revamp. In the hope that this will improve US standards I say ‘Give it a try’ – from an almost 90 year old retired PUBLIC school educator.

    • Janice Sonntag November 24, 2016 at 12:48 am - Reply

      I seen charter schools and public schools, The Public School in the state sucks, most get a d or f rating, But the public schools get a, b c. We had a Math and science school for two years operated by a Public College, and they had to close it down because they were not making any money. So now we have a nice school abanded. So charter schools sucks, invest in the public school, or township schools not charter schools.

  4. dr Rudy Magnan November 23, 2016 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    The most important aspect in any school is the relationship between the teacher and the students,
    If we are ever gong improve education we have to assume that in a changing world where American students have to compete globally, we need to rethink beyond learning information for tests because in the real world it more about elevating the mental processing of our students so they can develop processing skills toward their own MINDSET which will allow them to become life long learners.
    Students are not getting the critical and creative thinking skills necessary to successfully enter the corporate work place. I have published a number of books that discuss the importance of developing advanced cognitive training in schools. I have sent a number of messages to the TRUMP TEAM offering my research and experience especially since I had the opportunity to collaborate with world famous author, consultant dr. Edward de Bono who creative methods and concepts have been successfully utilized in world class international innovation .But it seems that the
    Trump Teem has failed to understand how education is one of the key ingredients in making America Great Again because they have appointed an individual that probably will never be able to understand the new creative paradigm that points to why our schools fail to compete internationally.
    Trump has missed an opportunity to achieve the critical transformation needed to achieve his goal. M.A.G.

  5. Cheryl January 20, 2017 at 10:32 am - Reply

    I know that the public schools are in trouble, if you care about our children you would face the fact that it is broken.
    We need to join together to bring ideas and being critical is not helpful…denial is not helpful..our children deserve to be safe and in a respectful environment so they can learn..one idea that is out of the box is the Waldorf School’s why not explore new ideas and give some advice…be part of the solution, not the problem. Things need to change, but in order to do that we have to unite, not fight.

  6. Elaine February 2, 2017 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Hi
    I’m from MA and we have worked hard over the last several years to improve our public schools. We also defeated a ballot question this fall to increase the rate at which charter schools would be established here. Why? Because such implementation would definitely take money away from helping to continually improving our public schools. Perhaps Trumps pick is a person trying to get funding for private schools be they sectarian or religious. Get someone with a broad educational background and even some classroom experience in that position, not a wealthy owner of a charter school.

  7. Judith Fingar February 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I am quite knowledgable about our school systems in this country. My Mother was a teacher, I thought about doing the same, but helped my husband start his business that grew to employ many. One of my sons decided to go into education and he married a fellow teacher. I know how hard they work as did my Mom to educate All the children. Charter Schools do not do that. They actually have a worse record of graduation than my small town school. Here in New York State my small country school with approximately eighty children per grade has only twenty children maximum per classroom. EVERY child graduates from this school. Ninety percent go on to higher education. And no, we are not wealthy but a farming community of hardworking Americans. The needs of the student comes first in all of the schools in our county. Charter schools are not effective in the total education of our children, If you are elected to your position you had better do some more homework on your ability to lead this country’s educational needs. So far you haven’t got a clue.

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