Long before Betsy Devos was the Secretary of Education in the United States, she was an active proponent of “school choice,” a movement that allows students from all economic levels to choose a school based on its educational criteria rather than on geographical location. She has actively worked toward the passing and implementation of legislative bills that will use public funds to create vouchers for private schools or tax credits for people who chose to enroll their children in private schools. While school-choice programs are not available in most states as yet, Devos is committed to the idea that all parents should have the financial opportunity to provide a quality private education, regardless of their income.
Betsy Devos has been the chairperson of many different non-profit groups whose goals were to move the legislation of school-choice laws forward. Her work with these charities as well as her position as Chairman of the Michigan Republican party placed her in a position to help form the American Federation for Children. The AFC is a political action committee which actively campaigns for legislation allowing school-choice vouchers and tax credits to be part of the education system.
Although many students and their families have benefitted from Betsy Devos’s philanthropic efforts and are full of praise for her work, other groups are less enchanted with the offerings she brings to the table in the political arena. Betsy Devos has been heard to say that education should be a bi-partisan political issue and that students from low-income families should have the opportunity for quality education, but large numbers of people including teacher’s unions agree that the reality of charter and private schools is vastly different than the picture Devos paints. Opponents claim that if the government has implemented tax credits and vouchers for private school, funding for public schools will decrease. Since public schools already struggle with reduced funding, many opponents of Betsy Devos’s policies fear the disparity between public and private schools will become even more evident if the government approves vouchers and tax credit nationwide.
Regardless of which political party holds office, it appears that Betsy Devos is either going to save the education system or doom it to failure. Which direction it takes is not yet clear.
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