The residents of western Michigan have started to have trouble with reconciling with the Betsy DeVos they knew and the new one who now serves President Trump as a controversial secretary of education. In fact, at times, her new job has been referred to as her “bully pulpit.” Still, no one denies the generous and pragmatic nature of DeVos even though they dislike her political standings. Some of the phrases used to speak about her have been, insulated, tone deaf and unprepared to fulfill the responsibilities of her role as the secretary of education. These were all words that came up when people who knew her were given interviews.
Background of DeVos
In 1958, DeVos was born into the conservative and wealthy Prince family. She was raised within the walls of the Christian Reformed Church out of Holland, Michigan. The community at large was mostly Dutch and sat close to the shores of Lake Michigan. After high school, DeVos enrolled at a Christian school found close to Grand Rapids called Calvin College. This was before she married into the DeVos family, which successfully co-founded Amway along with the Van Andel family. Dick DeVos used to pick her up in a Mercedes for dates.
Educational Convictions of DeVos
Given her hometown’s religious, ethnic and cultural ties to the Netherlands, DeVos’s education convictions are not surprising. In fact, as far back as the late 1800s, a debate swarmed around what public education within the Netherlands should look like. The liberal politicians successfully pushed for secular schools because they argued how the religious schools didn’t deserve the same public funding. What soon arose was the early beginnings of school choice. We have now seen the framework of this religiously based school and the different types of more secular based schools. Abraham Kuyper, a famous theologian, had significant influence on Calvin College, which is where Betsy DeVos may have been influenced on her views of public education.
These views on education continue strongly in Dutch society, and based on some of her notions, we could assume both the Trump administration and DeVos endorse these views. Critics have sometimes pointed out a violation of society’s commitment to a separation of church and state. Here’s the main ideal they’re fighting for—the basis of an equal treatment for all forms of education and a neutrality in the funding and how it goes to both secular and religious schools.
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