Betsy Devos – on topic article

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos can be a polarizing force in Washington, with her intentions and long-term educational goals for the United States vague and with no clear road map for struggling districts across the nation. The conservative Washington newcomer and philanthropist entered the highest echelon of politics with a limited relationship to President Trump and an empty department with no veteran employees.

 

In a highly anticipated Senate confirmation hearing, DeVos struggled with questions relating to measures of student success and the state of the nation’s public schools. Vice President Mike Pence later cast the tie-breaking vote, confirming DeVos as Secretary of Education, an event never before seen in a Senate confirmation hearing.

 

Betsy DeVos’ strongest defining position is expanding access to charter schools. DeVos’ distaste for public schools was made apparent after she visited a Washington school and remarked that the teachers were in “more of a receive mode”. DeVos’ approach to improving public schools involves capitalistic competition, with religious institutions and charter schools serving as the baseline for public schools to fight against. A proposed voucher program by DeVos would allow greater access to these institutions, in theory giving students and parents greater freedom of choice in education.

 

Opponents of this measure question DeVos’ motivation for expanding the opportunity of choice in education. Over the course of 30 years, DeVos has tried to repurpose tax money meant for public schools and instead invest them in charter schools. Charter schools are run by private groups, but rely on public school dollars to function, leading critics to accuse DeVos of intentionally diverting resources from public schools, thus forcing public education to balance on a dangerous precipice where students underperform, and allow charter schools to flourish.

 

DeVos’ position stems from her own upbringing. Elizabeth Prince was born into a wealthy family in 1958 and largely raised in the Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan. She later attended Calvin College, a Christian university located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prince later married Dick DeVos, the wealthy founder of Amway. The DeVos’ later went on to have four children, all of whom were educated in private and religious institutions.

 

Despite her reluctance toward embracing the traditional public school system, DeVos called the leaders of the two largest teachers’ unions, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, and Randi Weingarten. While Garcia spurned the phone call, Weingarten returned DeVos’ call and agreed to visit schools together. This amicable first step may help bridge the ideological differences between DeVos’ and most union teachers, leading to the ultimate goal of student success.

 

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Betsy DeVos the fighter for good education policies and her stand on free speech on campuses

There has been ongoing censorship on open expression and debate of ideas in campuses. Betsy DeVos, the U.S Secretary of Education, has raised concerns about the threat that campuses are getting on free speech. Even though Betsy has seen more college campuses shutting down free expression of ideas, she has gone on record to say that there are different angles to address the issue.

 

During an interview that she participated at the Conservative Political Action conference, DeVos described college as a place where people ought to experiment their ideas and thoughts, together with the subjects they were being taught in a free way.

 

Even though Betsy stands with her perspective of what college should be like for everyone, over the years, the concept has become hard to implement because of the controlling systems present in the campuses.

 

Thanks to her position as the U.S Secretary of Education, Betsy is committed to ensuring that the freedom of expression is sustained in campuses, and if there are any struggles as Betsy states, “it should be between ideas.”

 

Over the years, Betsy has been a fighter for education policies she believes in. In 2000, she proposed the creation of a voucher that was tax-funded to help children from low-income families to access private education. Even though she lost her votes, she took her advocacy plans to other states, and 24 states adopted the voucher program, giving children the options to choose where they could study, the same way children from privileges families do.

 

Betsy is not someone to back down from a fight. Although she got into the position of U.S Secretary of Education without a lot of experience in politics, she is learning how to find her way through her plans for the greater good. Betsy is not someone to scare easily, even though she seems to be underestimated on occasion.

 

Betsy DeVos not only supported the voucher program, but she also supported schools that are being run by profit-making companies, and she still made opposition to their standards of performance. Her efforts drove Detroit to become the largest hub of charter schools in the USA.

 

Although most of the charter schools were low performing and the demand was lower than the supply, Betsy fought against a bill that was to permit the formation of new charter schools and closing the failing ones. She won the battle and stood for the cutting down of Detroit public schools. Betsy never wanted the public schools to win; this is how much of a fighter Betsy DeVos is.

 

Coming back to the campus conflicts, the Department of Justice under the Attorney General Jeff Sessions is committed to addressing the conflicts of free speech. DeVos assured the students that the support from the Justice Department would go a long way to bring the point home, and assuring free speech on campuses. As Betsy DeVos continues to get support on her role as the U.S Secretary of Education, her voice is being heard, and her stance for maintaining good ideas remains intact.

 

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Tale Of Two Men: George Soros And Donald Trump

George Soros stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump. Forbes magazine ranks George Soros as the 19th wealthiest man on planet earth. But for some reason, Donald Trump is not included on the list. It seems that Donald Trump may not even be a billionaire after all. It seems a little odd that he may not have the wealth that he brags about.

But let’s just take a look at what these men do with their money. A few years back, George Soros swooped in to donate $35 million to the state of New York. The money was and at supplementing a federal stimulus program for poor families during a difficult economic time. The federal program matched state funds 4-to-1. This allowed the state of New York to give $200 extra per child to families in need at the outset of the school year. Essentially, George Soros bought school supplies for millions of children across New York State.

Donald Trump does something completely different with his money. He invests in foreign companies, hires foreign workers and has his goods made in foreign countries. He then hires a team of lawyers to hide his wealth from the federal government so that he can dodge paying taxes. And with the extra money that he saves, he sets up failing companies like Trump University and Trump Steaks. He is even being sued by the attendees of Trump University because those people discovered that his business was a scam. Visit Project Syndicate to learn more about George.

His hard-working Jewish father liquidated his family’s assets in order to dodge the Nazis during the outset of World War II in Budapest. His father changed his family name to Soros in order to avoid identification as being a Jewish family.

Anti-Semitism was rampant across mainland Europe at the conclusion of World War II. George Soros’s family escaped this persecution by relocating to London. This is where George Soros would go to school and create his wealth. After working his way through college, Soros made billions on the British stock markets. He made a giant splash and became a hedge fund celebrity after making $1 billion in one day. He turned nothing into billions. Read more on BigThink about George Soros

Donald Trump, on the other hand, inherited his wealth from his father. And while Trump went to military school, he received for deferments during the Vietnam War for bone spurs in his ankles. Trump claims that he built his entire empire on a $1 million loan from his father. It turns out that he inherited $200 million when his father died.

Betsy DeVos is a Powerful Woman on the Rise

Betsy was nominated and later confirmed as the United States Sectary of Education in the Donald Trump administration in February 2017. It is her passion and dedication to the education system that got her nominated.

In her first few days of taking office, Betsy DeVos has managed to make great changes to the education sector. First, she signed the draft order that was given by President Donald Trump on the Transgender rights. The draft bill is seeking to reverse the transgender bill passed by former President Barack Obama. The bill offered protection to the transgender students and allowed them to use any of the bathrooms. It is not clear the motivation behind the reversal of the law. But, one thing is clear, transgender students will be subject to bullying.

The second significant change is allowing the financial lenders to charge hefty penalties to students who default in payment. This move can result in two things: there will be enough finances for students who can’t cater for their studies and the students may drop out for fear of the loans. Either way; the order from the President and the Secretary of Education will affect the education system significantly. One can only hope it is a move towards the right direction. Read more news on LA Times.

Philanthropic work

In a report released to the public, Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick have contributed $139 million to different organizations. Most of their contributions have been done through their foundation- Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. Through the Foundation, the couple has contributed millions to hospitals, Christian schools, art organizations, and Evangelical missions.

She has her husband also provided financial support to a center that will teach managers and the directors how to manage and fundraise for their institutions. In 2009, the couple founded the ArtPrize which is an international art competition.

Betsy and Dick DeVos established an annual scholarship program that will support students earning Bachelor of Business Administration or the Master of Business Administration at the Northwood University.

Read her interview with Philantrophy Table.

Political involvement

She has been actively involved in politics since 1982. Betsy has served the Michigan Republican Party as a delegate for 16 consecutive terms. She also served as the Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan from 1992 to 1997. Between 1996 and 2000 Betsy was the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party. She resigned from the position in 2000 but was later reelected in 2003.

Business Career

She was the chairwoman of the Windquest Group, founded in 1989. The group invests in technology, clean energy, and manufacturing.

Betsy and her husband have also produced a Broadway play in 2012. The play ran for three weeks and closed in December 2012.

Together with her husband, they are the principal investors of the Neurocore which is a group of brain performance centers. They also serve as board members.