When you talk about change agents in the United States, one couple we don’t hear a lot about is Dick and Betsy DeVos. While we do hear about Betsy when it comes to being the Education Secretary, there are still plenty of people who don’t realize the duo have been working to change the way we do things in this country for decades. On occasion, Dick DeVos has been a change agent on a much smaller scale. That was most recently underlined when talking about the way he went about making sure that his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan does not get a brand new multi-purpose sports and convention arena north of downtown.
DeVos felt as though this new center was going to draw away from downtown Grand Rapids. The campaign to kill that center made Dick DeVos understand that he had a bit of a calling as a kind of community organizer. His efforts were carried out in a couple of different ways and he’s now credited with helping steer the development of Grand Rapids in a positive way.
Because both he and his wife Betsy are heirs to great family fortunes, they have had the time and the means to spend a lot of their adult lives to being change agents, whether talking about policies or institutions. Because the DeVos’ are also big-time Republican donors, they are people that have managed to make sure that they have a voice in the political process. That work has led to Betsy DeVos being someone who is now the most powerful person in the country when it comes to deciding what direction public education is going to go. Dick DeVos was also appointed to a government agency by President Trump.
DeVos, who has also spent time as a pilot over the course of his life, was appointed to the top civilian panel overseeing the Federal Aviation Administration back in September. The former president of Amway is now starting a brand new chapter in his career. At the same time, he’s doing what he does best. He’ll be someone who can now change the way things are done at the FAA from the inside. That is, of course, the reason why DeVos has been doing what he’s been doing. Changing things from the outside can be done, but it’s certainly easier to do it from the inside.
People like Dick and Betsy DeVos understand that being a change agent of an agency you are overseeing is quite a bit easier than picking up the phone and hoping you can rally enough people to your cause. It should also be pointed out that while some of President Trump’s choices for his cabinet have come under fire for not having experience in the areas they are overseeing. Dick DeVos is certainly someone who understands aviation. He will continue to push his knowledge in a way that he can change what he sees needs to be changed. Now we’ll just wait to see what his next project might be.
Visit http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.
For more than three decades, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a tireless advocate for educational choice. The prominent businesswoman’s support for individualized learning opportunities that can best meet each individual student’s unique needs began when her own four children were school-aged, and Mrs. DeVos and her husband had the opportunity to spend time at Potter’s House Christian School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Potter’s House Christian School
Potter’s House Christian School is an educational venue that serves children between kindergarten and the 12th grade. Its academic programs are firmly grounded in religious principles that support the evolution of youngsters into adults with strong moral beliefs. The school attracts families from many different walks of life, including low-income families for whom paying tuition is a real challenge. How fair was it to force these families to pay taxes that support public schools they weren’t using, Mrs. DeVos wondered? Didn’t that serve to underscore the division between wealthier families who could afford educational choice and less affluent families? Wouldn’t it more just to open up the closed educational system so that all parents had greater choice?
The American Federation for Children
In the early 1990s, Mrs. DeVos began supporting measures on the Michigan ballot that called for changes in K-12 funding. These changes were intended to create more charter schools and to increase opportunities for the types of online learning that provide the backbone for so many home-schooling efforts. Betsy DeVos also launched a political action committee called the Great Lakes Education Project that focused on promulgating educational reform throughout the state of Michigan. She became involved as well with other school-choice organizations such as All Children Matter and the Alliance for School Choice. Taking what she learned from participating in these venues, Betsy DeVos and her husband formed the American Federation for Children in 2010.
The American Federation for Children has seen many successes in the states where it maintains a presence. In Florida, for example, the 501(c)(4) organization helped implement a tax-credit scholarship program that has enabled more than 50,000 students to attend schools their families have specifically chosen for them. The number of Florida students the nonprofit serves grows larger every year. Louisiana and Indiana are other states that have received assistance from the American Federation for Children for the passage of educational choice reforms.
Betsy DeVos does not see educational choice as a strictly partisan issue. She thinks increasing numbers of both Democratic and Republican state legislators are beginning to respond to its appeal. Betsy DeVos believes that educational choice is a rich movement that encompasses digital learning, homeschooling, charter schools an magnet schools as well as vouchers and tax credits. Learn more: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20170127/letter-in-support-of-betsy-devos-for-secretary-of-education