Betsy DeVos has often been described as one of the most passionate supporters of education reform in the U.S. after becoming involved in the school choice and school voucher activism community when it was not considered a mainstream idea in the 1970s and 80s. However, I believe there is much more to the life and career of Betsy DeVos than simply her work as an education specialist and reformer; alongside her education work, the Calvin College graduate has also built a strong political and business career often in partnership with husband Dick DeVos.
In looking back at the life and career of Betsy DeVos I have discovered she has seemed to have maintained an interest in politics dating back to her time as a student of Calvin College where she studied political science. Despite the long hours of hard work Betsy has put into reforming the education system in her home state of Michigan and across the U.S. I was shocked to discover she has also found the time and effort to act as the Chair of the Michigan Republican Party on two occasions in the 1990s and early 2000s. Working alongside her husband, AmWay heir Dick DeVos, Betsy has amazed me with the level of success she has achieved as the founder of The Windquest Group that invests in clean energy and local businesses in Michigan; Betsy DeVos is also well known for the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation she and Dick use to provide funding for charitable projects they pack. The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation has provided funding for the Kennedy Center for the Arts across a range of projects, and made sure some of this funding is used to back Michigan based arts projects to aid the often economically challenged state the couple still call home.
In my own view the work Betsy DeVos will always be remembered for is her dedication to education reform she has previously stated when she visited Michigan schools when her own children were of school age. A visit to the Potter’s House Christian School is often cited by Betsy in articles I have read about her as the turning point in her view of education reform; over a number of decades I have been happy to see Betsy DeVos acting as the Chair of the Alliance for Education Reform and has personally funded a number of marketing campaigns to raise awareness of school choice and voucher programs across the U.S. After founding the West Michigan Aviation Academy Charter School close to Grand Rapids, Betsy DeVos has finally seen her hard work payoff with her nomination to become the U.S. Secretary for Education in 2017.