The work of Betsy DeVos has been followed by myself for a number of years as she has made the cause of education reform her most important one as both a philanthropist and activist; Betsy DeVos has proven herself to be such an important part of the 21st century education landscape in the U.S. that in early 2017 she was, quite rightly, given the position of Secretary of Education by incoming U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Mrs. DeVos has always been a major supporter of a number of good causes through her own Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation and The Windquest Group used by the couple for their main investments in and around Michigan. One thing that has always brought out my admiration for Betsy DeVos has been the dedication she has shown to providing a better standard of life for the entire community in her home state of Michigan, and the city of Grand Rapids she calls home with her husband, Dick. Check her website for more info at betsydevos.com.
On February 7th 2017, Betsy DeVos was awarded the role of Education Secretary of the U.S. after the work she has been completing for over three decades was finally recognized by the political establishment as being important; for myself I have nothing but admiration for the way Betsy DeVos has handled her passion for education over the course of her work as a reformer, particularly as the cause was little more than an afterthought for many education experts in the 1990s. My own opinion is that Betsy DeVos has done more than a large number of others in the education community to allow students and their family greater choice over how they are educated and at which institution. By 2015, Betsy DeVos had played a key role in the development of school choice and school voucher programs in 17 states and the District of Columbia that means zip code is no longer the determining factor in the standard of education received.
There is more to the work of Betsy DeVos than simply her interest in education reform that is often seen as the main area of concern for the Holland, Michigan born graduate of Calvin College. Looking at the life and career of Betsy DeVos has allowed me to see she has become a major force in a number of fields, including politics where she has twice headed the Michigan Republican Party as Chair; President George W. Bush also provided Betsy DeVos with a major honor when she was his nomination for a vacant seat on the board of the Kennedy Center for the Arts. Despite these outside interests I still believe Betsy DeVos will remain best known for her educational work, which includes the development of the West Michigan Aviation Academy charter school that was established and operated by Betsy and Dick DeVos.
Know more: https://www.facebook.com/betsy.p.devos/
I must admit now before I start that I was not very familiar with Betsy DeVos or her commitment to education. As I researched her work I became more and more impressed with her endeavors. As someone interested in clean energy, zero waste, and natural alternatives I am excited to learn of Mrs. DeVos’ involvement with a company which invests in clean energy. I admire her for the time and money she has invested in many different areas from her work in campaigns, serving on many boards, and setting up scholarships. She is known in many circles not the least of which are politics, business, and education As a member of the Republican Party, Betsy DeVos spent most of the 90s as the Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan. She went on to serve as the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party in the late 90s and early 2000s. I will be using her as a role model in my endeavor to improve myself and my community. Check her website for more info at betsydevos.com.
She was, herself, raised by a school teacher which I’m sure left an impression on her from childhood. When her own children entered school she noticed how not all children had the opportunity to receive the quality of education that others had within their reach. She became involved in making quality education achievable for all children, no matter their background. She gave several years of her time to mentoring at-risk children, as well as working to empower parents in making more choices available in educating their children.
In 2015 her family ranked #24 on Forbes list of America’s top givers. Mrs. DeVos and her husband began the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in 1989. This foundation supports education, community, arts, justice, and leadership and has contributed $11.6 million. The DeVos’ total contributions have reached $139 million. Portions of these contributions have gone to hospitals, health research, schools, missions, and free-market think tanks. They have donated to Christian organizations and missions. Her latest achievement is that of the title of United States Secretary of Education, winning by one vote which Vice President Mike Pence cast in her favor to break the 50-50 tie. I am looking forward to seeing what strides she will make in the years to come in the area of education. I don’t think I could ever be in the political field but I could certainly follow her lead in the areas of mentoring children and being more involved in environmental concerns. There are many more lives waiting to be touched by her kindness, concern and generosity.
The year 2010 brought us Citizens United from the Supreme Court of The United States. This is without a doubt one of the most controversial court decisions of all time. What makes Citizens United such a controversial decision?
It was based upon the belief that a corporation is a person, and that donating money to political campaigns is speech. Therefore, if a corporation is a person and money is speech, it would not be constitutional to deny the corporation the right to give money to campaigns or political groups of their choosing. Furthermore, the money can be donated anonymously, so the groups taking the money do not have the obligation to disclose where they money came from.
Proponents of Citizens United will argue that those of us who are fortunate enough to have enough money to donate to causes that they believe in should be able to do so, as it is their right. Citizens United also argues that since a corporation is a person, it should be able to have the same right to donate to campaigns as a regular flesh and blood United States Citizen can.
The United States is supposed to be a democracy of, by, and for the people. A major portion of this is the concept that we as a people have the right to vote, and that any one person’s vote will count just as much as anyone else’s vote, regardless of how much money they do or do not have. Allowing unlimited money from a corporation in favor of or against any proposed law will put us as voters at a serious disadvantage, as we do not have the same resources to promote our viewpoint to the voters to attempt to influence them as to why we do or do not support any proposed law.
Part of democracy is having an informed public. Meaning, that they can fairly hear both sides of an issue, and then vote according to their best interests. After all, how can voters make an informed decision based upon what would be in their best interests if they are hearing one side of the argument more often and regularly than the other, simply because one side can out spend the other? Also, shouldn’t voters know what corporations support and or oppose any piece of legislation, so that they know who would or would not benefit from doing so?
I am a capitalist, and I do not believe that I am entitled to wealth. I do not oppose or resent anyone who has more money than I do. However, I do oppose people (corporations or not) using money to promote propaganda for one side and silence the other side by out spending them. That is why I fully support ending End Citizens United.