Mild-mannered Betsy DeVos, known for her philanthropy, assumed her position as secretary of the United States Department of Education as the “bathroom bill” was struck aside by President Donald Trump. In her address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, she referred to unisex bathrooms in the public schools as a “huge example of the Obama administration’s overreach.”
Parent Student Choice
Billionaire Betsy DeVos reaches her goals. Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, labeled her “dangerous” because she advocates for parent and student choice in education. She successfully established vouchers for all children to have access to a free private school education in 24 states and in the District of Columbia.
West Michigan Aviation Academy
She and her husband Dick DeVos opened the West Michigan Aviation Academy, an aviation charter school, on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The Academy focuses on innovative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and training. Economically disadvantaged students are motivated by the airplanes donated to the school by pilot, Dick DeVos. Lessons are learned on flight simulators in the classroom. Fifteen students graduated as licensed pilots last year, and others learned aircraft maintenance. Learn more: http://www.betsydevos.com/education/
America’s Top Givers List
Forbes Magazine placed Dick and Betsy DeVos 24th on their America’s Top Givers list after they contributed $104 million in 2015. Forbes reported that the DeVos family contributed $1.33 billion to charities in their lifetime. Grand Rapids, Michigan, is home to the DeVos Performance Hall, the DeVos Place Convention Center, the DeVos Communication Center at Calvin College, and the DeVos Children’s Hospital.
In 2013, the DeVos Foundation Great Lakes Education Project contributed $50,000 to the Compass College of Cinematic Arts, $100,000 to Ferris State University, $25,000 to a Detroit Charter School Company, $200,000 to Northwood University, $301,000 to Potter’s House in Wyoming, $315,000 to the West Michigan Aviation Academy, and $50,000 to the Rehoboth Christian School in New Mexico.
Narrowly confirmed by the senate due to her lack of understanding of the principles of public education, DeVos didn’t know the federal statutes governing special education in the United States. She wasn’t familiar with concepts of proficiency or standardized assessments, but Michigan Republican Greg McNeilly stated she knows what many fail to acknowledge: Public schools in the United States do not perform well as measured by standardized assessments. Vice President Mike Pence cast the final vote which led to Betsy’s confirmation.
Betsy DeVos and Melania Trump visited Excel Academy, an all-girls charter school in Washington, D.C., with Queen Rania of Jordan. DeVos praised the charter school for empowering parents to choose education that meets their children’s needs. DeVos and Trump intend equal funds for all schools: public, religious, and private.
Secretary DeVos visited a public elementary school, a private Christian School, a charter school, and two colleges in the Miami, Florida, area. The Florida charter school was established by Pitbull, a rapper whose lyrics may contain profanity. Pitbull’s charter school is an alternative model of choice in public education.