When Betsy Devos went to Washington to take the position of Secretary of Education, it surprised some of the people who are closest to her. Those people weren’t necessarily surprised at her title or at the fact that she was trying to make a difference. Rather, they were surprised that she had finally chosen to get involved in politics. To put it lightly, Devos never showed much interest in getting involved in the fights of Washington. She wanted to have an impact from afar, to use her resources and her family’s name to help provide better school options. To hear that Devos had finally taken the dive into politics came as a mighty surprise to those who knew her.
The reasons for that were simple. Devos, being assertive yet mild-mannered, never much liked having to put up with the fakeness that accompanied politics. She had been told that if she wanted to have success in Washington, she had to be willing to put on a show. She had to be willing, it seems, to fake her way through handshake lines and meetings with people who did not respect her views. Devos’s closest friends knew that this was not her personality.
She came to prominence alongside her husband Dick when they spent a good portion of their fortune in order to help the city of Grand Rapids. She also invested heavily in group that were pushing school choice and vouchers as a means of fixing the broken school system. For Devos, the origins of this movement came with her own experience of finding schools for her children. She found in looking at Michigan schools that deep dysfunction existed in the state-run school system. There was not a school she felt comfortable sending her kids, and she was not alone. Other mothers were expressing concern that they could not find the right choice.
With this, Devos set out to learn more about school choice and other educational options. She learned very quickly that it was critical for children to have a choice if they were going to be successful in life. With that, she started an advocacy group, but she realized that she could do much more from the inside. That’s why she finally went to Washington and took a spot with Donald Trump.
To this point, Devos’s tenure has been a success. She has gone around the country talking about the benefits of school choice. In doing so, she has been able to secure some movement on that front. It’s provided her with some solace. After all of the years of hard work, the Devos who never wanted to be a politician has been able to use the political system to get things done.
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