The Legacy of Betsy DeVos as 11th U.S. Secretary of Education
If Betsy DeVos could sum up the cure for what ails American public schools in a single phrase it would be: “Give parents a choice.”
By that, she means allowing parents to opt-out of sending their kids to the public school designated for them based on their location and the school district they happened to be located within. Moms and dads should have the option of enrolling their children in private schools, innovative new charter schools, religious schools or even remote learning situations — even if they can’t afford the tuition.
Besty DeVos gained a national forum to lay out her education philosophy during a grueling three-and-a-half-hour Senate confirmation hearing as she was being vetted to take on the role of U.S. Secretary of Education for the Trump Administration.
The hearings produced heated debates split along party lines. Republicans warmly endorsed the ideas of Betsy DeVos while Democrats piled on to heap scorn upon her approach.
Of course, the hearing ended with a vote to confirm DeVos. It then came time for educational philosophy to collide with the practical matter of implementing policy. If it can be said that DeVos held firm to her convictions during her nearly four years at her Cabinet-level position –- it can’t be said that her top priorities became official policy to a significant degree.
DeVos resigned just weeks before her term ended in anticipation of the incoming Biden Administration. It was the Jan. 6 protests at the U.S. Capital Building that prompted her decision to resign. She called the Jan. 6 event “an inflection point.”
The influence of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary is now a matter for historians to debate. At the very least, her tenure as Secretary can be said to have raised awareness about the value of charter schools, the school voucher program and the wider issue of school choice.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.