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.
ClassDojo has managed to raise $21 million in a venture funding (Series B round) for a new application. The new technological communication platform will offer teachers, parents and students with a connection that will enable them to communicate in a consistent manner. It will enable these parties discuss about the student’s behavioral, social and activities development while at school. This ground-up change in communication will allow parents to be apprised of everything that occurs in school daily as opposed to getting surprised during the once in a semester parent-teacher meetings.
According to Liam Don and Sam Chaudhary, ClassDojo’s founders, the company closed its round of funding back in 2015 and is looking at ways to grow the team as well as the features and content that will prove useful to parents who are expected to use the application not only in school but also at home. Chaudhary stated that the idea behind the app is creating a positive culture with classrooms and schools as well as guiding the conversations held at home. Teachers will be able to use the app to update parents on a number of daily scheduled activities and send parents videos or snapshots of their children’s latest activities or work. The founders identified a gap in the education tech business, as they started the company in 2011. There were a number of other platforms creating digital curriculums, testing and grade books platforms. They saw that there was no app capable of creating community and culture between teachers, parents and students.
ClassDojo refers to a classroom communication platform that creates a simple app to help teachers, parents and students to share on the daily occurrences in class through messages, videos and photos. It is based in San Francisco and is currently focused on distributing it to even more parents and teachers. The startup hopes to start generating revenue by creating premium content and features for parents to use but it will not sell off the user’s data due to its high privacy policies as there are children involved. The founders are considering inputting content like discussion guides, videos, custom yearbooks and lessons to use at home. There are transactional features within the app to help parents pay for lunches, field trips or supplies.
The Wessex Institute of Technology, or WIT, is an England-based scientific organization offering a multitude of informative classes and conferences to the community, both on campus and online. In addition to the many valuable resources and seminars WIT offers,
Wessex also boasts an impressive Elibrary. Here, individuals can access a wide collection of documents, including scholarly texts, journals, and other various publications.
Texts offered in the Wessex Elibrary span a myriad of STEM-related subjects, including, but not limited to those regarding the Engineering Sciences, Information and Communication Technologies, Ecology and the Environment, plus Health and Biomedicine. These core research areas are then broken down into a comprehensive selection of subtopics. An advance search bar is provided to make browsing the more than 27,000 free texts offered on the site, in addition to the texts being divided by category and volume.
Accessibility to texts offered is also made easy and straightforward by WIT. Visitors to the site can search and access abstracts from all listed papers sans charges and restrictions. A conglomerate of academic papers are included in the Open Access Collection, and are free for public download without requiring a registration or login. For a small, pay-per-download fee, access to full text PDF papers is also available.