Dick DeVos and his wife, current Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos, are all about helping under-served communities and using their massive wealth to change policies and institutions. Going all the way back to 1991, DeVos was staunchly against building another sports arena because he felt it would be detrimental to the Grand Rapids. He was, however, in full support of the arena and performance center that is his namesake, as well as the river market and the medical school for Michigan State University.
Both DeVoses come from ultra-wealthy families. Dick DeVoses father, Richard DeVos, is the co-founder of Amway Corporation. Betsy DeVoses father, Edward Prince, is a billionaire industrialist. As heirs to fortunes, they have used the power they have amassed over years to influence major laws within the state. Both DeVoses are staunch supporters of educational reform. After witnessing the vast inequities within the public schools, they endorsed vouchers and school choice.
Betsy DeVos spearheaded a number of initiatives to expand charter schools. Dick DeVos also helped craft a law that changed the state of Michigan to a right-to-work state. This came as a shock to many, as the state has always been the ground zero of organized labor. Unions have nearly become obsolete, union membership is no longer a requirement for having a job.
The DeVoses reach goes well beyond conservative politics. Through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, they have given away millions of dollars to a number of charitable initiatives including the arts, health, culture, education and churches.
As far as educational advocacy, Betsy DeVos has always taken the position that children from poor families should have all of the same opportunities as rich ones. Unfortunately, the public has not always sided with the DeVoses educational stance.
A ballot initiative sponsored by DeVos in 2000 to create tax-funded school vouchers was rejected. Dick DeVos also lost the 2006 gubernatorial race to unseat Jennifer Granholm.
While they weren’t able to get the job done in Michigan, the DeVoses were able to get private school vouchers to other parts of the country. “I am very proud that these initiatives have given students choice.”
Her advocacy for children is one of the first reasons why President Donald J. Trump chose her to fill the Sec. of State position.
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Posted in: Education