For over three decades, Betsy Devos has led many political action committees, party organizations, and campaigns. In both business and politics, she and her husband work to find innovative solutions to social issues. In 1989, the DeVos’ founded the Windquest Group. This is an operating group that invests in clean energy, manufacturing, and technology.
In an interview with Philanthropy, Betsy Devos expressed her optimism regarding the progress that has been made since Wisconsin instituted the first private school voucher program in the United States. She mentioned that there are now around 250,000 students in private choice programs that are publicly funded in 17 different states. She feels that the growth is accelerating.
When it comes to the reason why Betsy Devos has even been interested in the educational movement, she says that there was not a single incident that drew her in. It was something that was gradual. When her children were in school, she and her husband visited a school that had been working with low income families. While they were there, they met parents who were working to keep the school environment safe for their children and create an atmosphere that promoted curiosity and education. As they continued to go back, they realized that the students needed more resources. They had the ability to help, so they began to help individual students at the school. Eventually, this grew into a larger commitment.
Because they were able to choose the school that they wanted for their children, they felt that it would only be fair if other parents could do the same for their children. Betsy Devos started a foundation that helps low income families by providing scholarships to children in order for them to decide where the children can go to school. She finds satisfaction in helping these families. However, she wanted to dig deeper and address the real problem.
In 2012, both Betsy Devos and her husband tried to change the state constitution to allow vouchers and tax credit scholarships. This was unsuccessful. She felt this was quite tragic considering how limited Michigan parents were when it came to choosing education for their children.
Betsy Devos feels that Florida has been her biggest success. They have a tax credit scholarship program that allows families to have more freedom when it comes to where their children will go to school. This program has over helped over 50,000 students. She also feels that major advances have been seen in Indiana and Louisiana. If the states are able to initiate similar programs, she feels that about a million students can be helped every year.
Betsy Devos serves as a chairman of the Alliance for School Choice. She has worked for years and is continuing to work as an advocate for the educational-choice movement.
To learn more, visit www.betsydevos.com.