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Betsy DeVos’s View on Charter and Public Schools

In a recent interview with Philanthropy, Mrs. Betsy DeVos lets the public in on her work in the education arena. DeVos was raised in a conservative family and, along with husband Dick DeVos, continues these ideals through both work and philanthropy.


Dick and Betsy DeVos are constantly pursuing reform through their work in philanthropy, particularly when it comes to advocating for families, students, and creating the best opportunities for education. Philanthropy’s interview asked Ms. DeVos an array of questions about her role in the government and education.


One focus of the interview was potential strategies to reform the education system. When it comes to strategies that Ms. DeVos finds promising, she first states that her main focus is choice in education. Broadly, she agrees with the common voice in that the zip code of a student’s home should not, in any way, determine the rank of the school that he or she attends.


On that note, she references the popular growth of technology in the education system. With all schools, technology has become more and more popular. Digital learning, according to Betsy DeVos, will hopefully become an equalizer among schools with different income levels. Conversely, Ms. DeVos wonders if technology will be a setback when it comes to students being bored during class. She recalls being bored during her own high school years, when students were not required to check their phones, iPads, and other technologies at the classroom door before taking in a lecture.


In Betsy’s words, parents have their choice in education between homeschooling, private schooling, and public schooling. She also adds virtual and magnet schools, thanks to digital technology. For the sake of charter schools, many of her critics believe that she has leaned too much toward using tax money to pay for charter schools that once paid for public schools; however, those on her side will typically point to the created competition that will improve education on either side.


Ms. Devos’s experience with charter schools goes back to her charter school education; however, her more recent answers come from the time spent with her husband creating and building his own academy. In the long run, she’ll be the first to tell you that, despite the overall success of private schools, they take a great deal of time to get operating, and are often just as in need of students as public schools.


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