The Inspiratin Behind Betsy DeVos’s Philanthropic Passion for Education

Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos is best known as being the 11th and current United States Secretary of Education. While the title may be a very prominent one, her path to reforming the education system in this country began a long time ago. It also began out of a true passion and calling to make the types of changes in education she feels are incredibly vital for this country to continue churning out well educated leaders.


Her path to becoming one of the United States’ top education reform experts began when she was a young woman at Calvin College. It was there that she first became interested in politics. That interest quickly grew into a passion and she has never lost it since then. Throughout college she worked for reform for various platforms and causes, while in her heart she knew education reform would always be her passion. She decided to pursue that wholeheartedly after college.


In the heartline of what she is looking to accomplish, is the realization that traditional public schools just are not working. Unfortunately, that is especially true when it comes to public schools that are supposed to serve areas that consist of low income families. Betsy first became aware of this when her own children were becoming school aged and she and her husband were looking at schools in the area where her children would receive the most benefit.


The couple visited a particular school, Potter’s House Christian School. This school served low income families in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area and although the school and faculty were doing their absolute best to serve those families, the resources were just not available to deal with the specific issues the children attending the school faced. During their visits to the school, Betsy and her husband met families that were simply focused on how they would put food on the table or keep their children safe, rather than the quality of education. Due to zoning, they had no real choice as to where they would send their children.


She realized that she and her family were so incredibly fortunate to have the choice to send their children to any school they desired. This was one of the incidents that spurred Betsy DeVos to want to do more for the entire country’s educational system than just her own local area. She and her husband began sponsoring children to attend Potter’s School on scholarship. Each year, the couple continued to do more and more. They sponsored multiple children, granted funds for supplies and upgrades. Potter’s School truly touched their hearts and although it inspired Betsy’s political career to great heights, the couple still remains actively involved with Potter’s School to this day.


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