Betsy DeVos: A Life Spent Advocating For Choices In Education

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is not afraid to disagree with President Trump, although, she does not contradict him in public or to the media. DeVos reportedly resisted rescinding a federal policy which allowed transgender students to use the school bathroom of their choice, but she publicly supported President Trump.


She’s known as a tough cookie in her home state of Michigan where she advocated for school choice. While critics said charter schools took funding away from public schools, DeVos said low-income parents deserve choices. She talks about visiting the Potter’s House Christian School with her husband. They had the money to send their kids to private schools, but the parents of the students at the school had to sacrifice to send their students to a good school. DeVos and her husband Dick now support the school.


DeVos started a foundation which gave children scholarships, however, she realized that the scholarships only helped a few families. Scholarships didn’t address the real problem which is poorly performing public schools, especially in Detroit. DeVos also served on the boards or two organizations which supported school choice; the American Education Reform Council and Children First America. DeVos also started the Lansing-based Great Lakes Education Foundation with her husband which advocates for charter schools.


When Philanthropy Magazine interviewed DeVos, she spoke about her support for online learning and homeschooling as well. Online learning is new, says DeVos, but it has promise. She goes even further, supporting charter schools run by for-profit companies, saying the free market and parents will decide the school’s fate. DeVos mentions her husband’s charter school, an aviation high school. The school prepares students for high-paying careers in the aviation industry.


Dick and Betsy DeVos have given almost $139 million away to charity during their lives. DeVos favors educational causes, educational reform and supports political candidates who favor school choice. She feels children shouldn’t have to attend a poor simply because they live in a certain zip code. As Education Secretary, DeVos has pointed out that even the better schools in the U.S. don’t perform as well as schools in other countries.


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Rocketship Education Shows Strong Performance Despite Critics

While there have been some news pieces lately criticizing charter schools including those from Rocketship Education, their impressive scores on tests and praise from parents show that these pieces may be biased. In a recent NPR piece, Rocketship is referred to like a company when in reality it is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing quality education to children in areas whose public schools are underperforming. While leaders at Rocketship Education admit that there are problems within their school system but these are problems that face most public schools as well.

One of the issues that the NPR piece had a strong focus on was the heavy use of different technologies at the school. Technology is heavily implemented at Rocketship Education, but this time is spent across several different programs and broken into different chunks throughout the week. Their students are not spending their days staring at a computer screen like this piece recently implied.

There is a bias against charter institutions such as Rocketship Education as many people are hesitant to embrace change. They feel as if these schools take away from the public schools in the area, but why shouldn’t parents have the choice to get their children a better education than what they are offered? Just because schools such as Rocketship Education aren’t the tradition doesn’t mean that they are inherently bad. Many public schools are failing and Rocketship Education is hoping to help children from being dragged down in the process. All schools have issues, even expensive private ones. Instead of focusing on negatives that exist across the board, we should be building up all schools.

Rocketship Education first opened their schools in the city of San Francisco before spreading across the country in different areas that were traditionally under-privileged. They give children the opportunity to receive the education that they need to get into a good college and succeed later in life. With the help of parents, they provide individualized education for each child within the organization. Many of the people who work for the company are so confident in the schools of Rocketship Education that they even send their own children to them.

Watch Rocketship Education’s videos here