For much of the 1990s and 2000s, Betsy DeVos pushed for education reform. She proposed new legislature as the Chairwoman of the Michigan Republicna Party, and she supported her husband Dick DeVos when he ran in the 2006 Michigan gubernatorial race. However, she wasn’t successful in reforming education policies until she became the 11th U.S.Education Secretary.
In her recent exit interview with EdWeek.org and Richard Hess, DeVos spoke about her experience as the U.S. Education Secretary. She spoke about being treated like an outsider, but how her experience in business helped her manage different initiatives and coordinate with different departments. However, she says through it all, she only wanted students to be prioritized first in education.
DeVos has been working for the past 30 years in education reform. Her work has always helped lower-income families send students to better schools, including magnet programs, private schools, charter schools, and virtual schools.
Throughout her tenure, she worked hard to get all 50 states on board with educational choice. Now students in any state can choose where they go to school. In addition, she also worked on policies to protect students and teachers through campus safety policies. This includes the new campus guardian program that started in 2018.
During the pandemic, Betsy DeVos had to handle a huge crisis with schools and re-opening during COVID-19. Many schools needed more resources and virtual schools, as well as distance learning programs. DeVos created policies to keep these programs in place to assist families and students during the pandemic crisis.
DeVos says that she hopes her policies stick around with the new administration, but she doesn’t know if student choice will continue in all states. After her resignation, she vows to keep working with student choice programs and raising money for more students to choose where they go to school.