Betsy Devos is a politician and philanthropist born to the wealthy Prince family in Western Michigan. Devos was raised in Holland, MI where she attended the Christian Reformed Church. Her family is known for Republican politics and philanthropy. Her father, Edgar Prince, founded the Prince Foundation, responsible for funding many conservative Christian causes.
Betsy Devos attended private Christian education and later married another heir of wealth, Dick Devos, a product of the same. Dick Devos carried on his family’s legacy of politics and philanthropy. Betsy Devos’ father-n-law, Richard Devos, was Co-Founder of Amway. Betsy and Dick Devos became a billionaire power couple influencing education and conservative politics.
Betsy Devos also donated millions to conservative causes and education through family philanthropic foundations. Devos is most associated with charter school expansion and school choice voucher programs, garnering the attention of President Trump who chose her for Secretary of the Education Department. Her controversial confirmation needed the tiebreaker vote of Vice President Pence.
Betsy Devos’ agenda has high visibility over decades of philanthropy. Opponents believe she is out of touch with public education and lower-income families. Opponents also say charter school expansion damages public schools by funneling money out to private institutions. Quality of education has also been questioned. Devos continues to advocate for free market education choice.
Despite her philanthropic track record and education agenda some worry Devos is too meek for the Education Department due to her treatment of the transgender bathroom issue. Devos did warn a representative of gay and transgender employees of the turning tide on the issue hours before an announcement. President Trump announced the rescinding of a federal policy permitting transgender bathroom use in schools according to the student’s chosen gender identity. Devos worked behind the scenes to stop it to no avail.
Betsy Devos publicly appeared before the Conservative Political Action Committee and painted the original policy as a product of the Obama administration’s overreaching. Devos ability has since been questioned. She is dubbed a passive team player by some. Proponents say she is the gracious quiet fighter whose name still instills fear in opponents behind the scenes. Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers reportedly stated, Devos “comes across as personable, [and] plain-spoken, but she is dangerous.”
As Chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party Devos successfully fought for passage of legislation favorable to her causes and quieted opponents. Proponents say wait and see, fully expecting Devos’ influence to rise as the Washington novice gains her bearings. Though accused of pronouncing destruction on public schooling, Devos’ agenda remains clear, education choice.
Shortly after confirmation Devos visited a Miami charter school pioneered by controversial rapper Pitbull. She also visited Excel Academy, a Washington charter school, with Queen Rania of Jordan and the first lady, Melania Trump. Devos said Excel demonstrated “transformation that can happen when parents are empowered to choose the education setting that bests fits their child’s individual needs.” Devos will continue to display two faces, the public team player and the quiet fighter. Learn more: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20170127/letter-in-support-of-betsy-devos-for-secretary-of-education