Greg McNeilly, a Republican political operative in Michigan, said in a recent New York Times article that Betsy DeVos is a shrewd political opponent that is emboldened with opposition. Betsy is the current Secretary of Education in President Donald Trump’s cabinet after being approved by a 51-50 vote on February 7, 2017, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote.
Betsy appears to believe that school vouchers are the way to go because they give parents the ability to make the decision on where their children will attend school. In the past, DeVos, a Holland, Michigan, native, has made disparaging remarks about the state of public education in Michigan. She grew up attending Holland Christian Schools before graduating from Calvin College. When she had children of her own, they attended Grand Rapids Christian Schools. She and her husband Dick have been large supporters of Potter’s House, a Christian school in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. The couple is also instrumental in forming West Michigan Aviation Academy.
According to Forbes Magazine, the extended family has given away more than $1.33 billion dollars or about 25 percent of their net worth. While Betsy is the daughter of Edgar Prince, most of the family’s wealth comes from her marriage as his family is the owner and operator of Amway. According to the Betsy and Dick DeVos website, the couple gave away more than $14.381 million in 2016. Much of the giving went to Christian organizations in Michigan who align themselves with the couple’s faith.
One of the first things that DeVos chose to do after being confirmed was call the presidents of the two largest teacher’s labor unions in the country. While the president of the American Federation of Teachers says that he spoke to her on phone, the president of the National Education Association said she saw no need to speak to DeVos yet.
Away from the field of education, Betsy DeVos has been very busy. She has served as the Michigan chairwoman for the Republican Party and has campaigned for several candidates including Marco Rubio and George W. Bush. She has also served on the board of the Kennedy Center. The couple has a sincere appreciation of art helping to found the Grand Rapids ArtPrize.
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