Most political commentators only see the public face of Betsy DeVos. She’s often depicted as a gracious individual, such as when she addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference after privately disagreeing with a policy shift by the Trump administration regarding bathroom use policies. DeVos is often able to deliver news in a manner that avoids irritating those receiving it.
However, looking at her through this lens only tells half the story. Behind closed doors, Betsy DeVos is a fiery individual who has familial connections to top organizations like Blackwater and Amway. She has long fought to steer taxpayer money away from traditional education departments and put it into voucher programs that allow parents to pay for tuition at private schools.
Opponents have long called this a conservative plan to undermine the public education system, but DeVos has shot down these accusations. She argues that the free market would do a much better job of handling the education system. DeVos points to the Great Lakes Education Project, which she founded.
While the public school system in Detroit continues to crumble, the area now has the largest concentration of charter schools in the nation. The fact that the supply exceeds the total demand in some parts of the region seems to prove her point about how much more efficiently these schools can perform than traditional public ones. Public school administrators continue to complain of crowding while charter school classrooms have more than enough space.
Critics claim that she fought as hard as she could to prevent new laws from coming into effect that would close existing charter schools. They’re actually right about this, but it shows just how passionate she fights for the school system that she had a hand in building. From her point of view, public schools are imploding because of their unstable foundation. Most reports have a tendency to neglect this part of DeVos’ position on the issue as well as just how passionate she is about her charitable causes.
Betsy DeVos and her husband gave away around $11.6 million in contributions to charitable causes in 2015 alone. In spite of her connections to politics, this is more than twice the amount she gave away to political causes over the last five years. She even made an appearance at a charter school founded by reggaeton superstar Pitbull. While her critics may focus on positions that they disagree with, they can’t say that DeVos doesn’t fight for what she believes in.
Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter for updates.