Posts Tagged ‘Betsy DeVos’

Today’s Dream Team Scouting Report: Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education #BetsyDevos #SecretaryOfEducation #TrumpPresidente

January 3, 2017


Chair of the Michigan Republican Party 2003–2005
Born Elisabeth Prince
January 8, 1958
Holland, Michigan, U.S.
Spouse Dick DeVos
Children 4
Graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science.

Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos is an American businesswoman, philanthropist, and education activist from Michigan.

  • DeVos is a prominent member of the Republican Party known for her advocacy of school choice, voucher programs, and ties to the Christian community.
  • She was Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan from 1992 to 1997 and served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000, with reelection to the post in 2003.
  • DeVos was one of the architects of the Detroit charter school system.
  • Member of the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.
  • She has served as chairwoman of the board of Alliance for School Choice and heads the All Children Matter PAC.
  • DeVos is married to Dick DeVos and is the daughter-in-law of billionaire Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway.
  • Her brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of Blackwater Worldwide.
  • DeVos is the daughter of Edgar Prince founder of the Prince Corporation.
  • On November 23, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education.

Business career:

  • DeVos is chairwoman of the Windquest Group, a privately held operating group that invests in technology, manufacturing, and clean energy. Founded it in 1989.
  • In 2011, DeVos via the Windquest Group, invested in Energetx Composites, a wind energy company. They were drawn to it because it aligned with Windquest Group’s clean energy focus. Windquest also invested in another Western Michigan firm, Cascade Engineering, to create a water filter used to help clean water efforts.
  • DeVos and her husband were producers for the Broadway stage play “Scandalous”: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, in 2012. Based on the life of the famous evangelist and featuring a book and lyrics written by Kathie Lee Gifford, the show ran for 3 weeks.

Non-profit work:

  • Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation
    Launched in 1989. According to its website, they are motivated by faith, and centered in cultivating leadership, accelerating transformation and leveraging support in: education, community, arts, justice, and leadership.
  • Kennedy Center
    DeVos was appointed by President George W. Bush to the board of directors of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2004, and served until 2010. While she was on the board, she and her husband funded a center to teach arts managers and boards of directors how to fundraise and manage their cultural institutions. The couple donated $22.5 million in 2010 to continue the endeavor, which was given in the name the DeVos Institute of Arts Management.
  • After the announcement of the DeVoses’ gift to the Kennedy Center, DeVos explained that she had been persuaded by Kennedy Center official Michael Kaiser’s observation that millions of dollars are invested but not in “training the leaders who hire the artists and run the organizations.” The DeVoses’ gift was intended to remedy this oversight. “We want to help develop human capital and leverage that capital to the greatest extent possible.” The DeVoses’ gift, part of which would be spent on arts groups in Michigan that had been hit hard by the recession, was the largest private donation in the Kennedy Center’s history.
  • In 2009, DeVos and her family founded ArtPrize, an international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Education
    School Vouchers 
  • DeVos is known as a “a fierce proponent of school vouchers” that would allow students to attend private schools with public funding. According to The New York Times, it “is hard to find anyone more passionate about the idea of steering public dollars away from traditional public schools than Betsy DeVos.”
  • An article in The Washington Post stated that “her policy positions on school vouchers appear to be motivated by her Christian faith”.
  • DeVos served as chairwoman of the board of Alliance for School Choice.
  • She heads the All Children Matter PAC which she and her husband founded in 2003 to promote school vouchers, tax credits to businesses that give private school scholarships, and candidates who support these causes.
  • Other activities on behalf of public-school reform have included membership on the boards of directors of the Advocates for School Choice, the American Education Reform Council, and the Education Freedom Fund. She has chaired the boards of Choices for Children, and Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP).
  • DeVos is Chair of the American Federation for Children (AFC), which ia a leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice.
  • During the 1990s, she served on the boards of Children First America and the American Education Reform Council, which sought to expand school choice through vouchers and tax credits.
  • She and her husband worked for the successful passage of Michigan’s first charter-school bill in 1993, and for the unsuccessful effort in 2000 to amend Michigan’s constitution to allow tax-credit scholarships or vouchers. In response to that defeat, DeVos started a PAC, the Great Lakes Education Project, which championed charter schools. DeVos’s husband and John Walton then founded All Children Matter, a political organization, which she chaired.

Detroit charter school system 

  • A study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that: “the typical student in Michigan charter schools gains more learning in a year than his TPS [traditional public schools] counterparts, amounting to about two months of additional gains in reading and math. These positive patterns are even more pronounced in Detroit, where historically student academic performance has been poor.”
  • The DeVoses have also established an annual scholarship, called the Betsy and Dick DeVos Scholars for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship, which is awarded to students earning a BBA or combined BBA/MBA at Northwood University.
  • DeVos is a member of the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), think tank founded by Jeb Bush whose stated goal is to “build an American education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-given potential.”