When Betsy DeVos first began to work as an education reform advocate, the very topic of school choice was considered off-limits. School choice is an education reform concept that originated in the 50s when Milton Friedman penned his essay, ‘The Role of Government in Education’. Friedman made what essentially boiled down to a principled argue against government overreach in the education sector. Now, sixty-plus years later, the education sector has changed in a very dramatic way. With that being said, these changes might not be permanent. Betsy DeVos is a follower of Friedman’s school choice concept and she is also the newest Secretary of Education in the Department of Education.
Betsy DeVos kicked off her education advocacy career almost thirty years ago. After marrying Dick DeVos, the DeVos family began to focus on highlighting the problems that the education sector was dealing with. By pointing to falling grades and an ailing global school ranking, DeVos was able to bring the failing school system to the attention of parents, teachers, and students across the nation. DeVos would take her momentum and run with it as she became a grassroots organizer for school choice reformation. For nearly thirty years, DeVos traveled all over the country while working with professionals at every level of the educational field. Thanks to her committed work, DeVos has been able to extend the reach of school choice into states throughout the country. Now, more than 250,000 students are enrolled in privately owned, publicly funded educational programs.
Despite her prominent federal position and the backing of the current President, Betsy DeVos knows that she still has a long way to go before her advocacy role brings serious returns. For DeVos, success in education reform won’t truly happen until the nation as a whole adopts to these changes. Even with her pure intentions, DeVos is also going to be trapped behind the battle lines of a divided Washington D.C. Never before has American politics been so divided, at least since the Civil War. Partisan politics is quickly becoming the norm and DeVos’s plans for reformation are getting caught between her colleagues.
After narrowly being confirmed by the Senate, DeVos has had to work twice as hard as her colleagues in order to establish herself as a major player in the political scene. Her lack of federal political experience would make DeVos an outsider on day one of her new job. Despite that, DeVos has been embraced by the GOP for her work as an outsider politician. Even though she has been pushed back at every turn, DeVos continues to show that she is not nearly ready to call it a day. DeVos is quickly gaining over the respect of her administration, now can she get the people on her side?
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