In 2013, during an interview with Philanthropy that focused on school choice, Betsy DeVos explained that it would take grassroots efforts and successful advocacy to make the necessary changes in the education system for school choice. Betsy DeVos understood that for change to occur key personnel had to occupy the right office to be in a position to create change. If those key persons were not in place, then organizations need to help them get elected, write the laws, and then get them passed. Once the laws are passed, that is the beginning. For the children to benefit from them, the new laws must also be implemented.
Early in the fight school choice for children, DeVos named Florida, Louisiana, and Indiana as states where efforts to offer school choice programs were successful. Florida was cited as having the most families whose children (over 50,000) were able to select the school that they would attend because of the success of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. Also, Louisiana and Indiana approved school choice programs with the potential to impact almost one million students. DeVos believed these programs were made possible because the organizations that she was involved with helped get the right people elected to office. She acknowledges that education is non-partisan and needs the support of both Democrats and Republicans.
Betsy DeVos has not been shy about criticizing the traditional public school system and labeling it ineffective. According to DeVos, it is because of the failing school system that parents want better choices for their children. Where tax credits, vouchers, and education savings accounts were once considered to be radical, more people are open to looking at these items. The increased interest in school choice programs and the number of states, including the District of Columbia that have publicly funded private-choice programs, Betsy DeVos is optimistic about the future of school choice. Over 250,000 students have been offered school choice, and thousands of more students are given the opportunity each year.
Today, Betsy DeVos still considers the state of Florida to be a leader when it comes to school choice. In 2017 as the Secretary of the Department of Education, DeVos visited several schools in Miami, which included CARE Elementary School. Students of CARE Elementary School are eligible for scholarships through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. Under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program, individuals and corporations that donate money to organizations that provide scholarships receive tax incentives.
Having been appointed as the Secretary of the Department of Education by President Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos is now one of those key people in the right place to create education reform.
Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.