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A Life Of Education Reform With Betsy DeVos

Posted by eastcoop on

Holland, MI can be seen as a sleepy little town in a sleepy little state. However, if you were to walk through any neighborhood in the town, you’d quickly come to realize the powerhouses that were born and raised there. Betsy DeVos serves as the Secretary of Education under President Trump and her work as a reformer dates back nearly 35 years. Born and raised in Holland, Betsy DeVos comes from a powerhouse family that includes Erik Prince, founder of an overseas contracting company. Betsy’s father has his own automobile empire which meant that Betsy had to find a way to leave her own mark on the world. DeVos would end up highlighting education.


The idea of education reform at a national level is almost hard to believe in. The public school system has been broken for so long that people are starting to give up hope. Betsy DeVos has been working tirelessly for nearly four decades in order to find a way to reform education in the United States of America and she has been doing it by adhering to the works of writer Milton Friedman. Betsy DeVos took Friedman’s early works, after learning about them at Calvin College, and she has since made their message more accessible to modern conservatives throughout the country. Her goal is to make education accessible for kids no matter what institution they need to receive it from.


Betsy DeVos has work dozen of foundations and committees in order to try and raise awareness for educational choice and thus far she has done a great job. More than 17 states are now embracing school choice and there is starting to be bipartisan support for the endeavors. While DeVos’s greatest accomplishments are in traditionally Republican states, Florida, Indiana, and Louisiana, she acknowledges that more Democrats and progressives are starting to get on board with educational choice programs. DeVos points to her work in Florida from 2003 onward as a primary location for bipartisan support.


In order to get educational reform going throughout the country, Betsy DeVos has turned to grassroots works to make it happen. DeVos says that her work has been most effective when it has incorporated mailings, phone calls, billboards, and web ads. Additionally, DeVos herself has worked as an ambassador while visiting churches and community groups throughout the country. This approach will be harder to implement now that she is a high-profile member of the White House but it really just magnifies her approach to getting things done.


Betsy DeVos is also a firm believer in digital learning. She points to how quickly her own children have adapted to technology and believes that there is a very real opportunity there to explore in the future.


Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.


Rocketship Education Goes the Extra Mile

Posted by eastcoop on



The education achievement gap for students from low income families who live far away from successful schools is a challenge many schools find insurmountable. This is where Rocketship Schools outshine traditional schools. The non-profit creates charter schools that fill the gap, one way or another. Sometimes they improvise an emergency fund that establishes a safety net for families who’ve been displaced from their homes by natural disasters. Sometimes they find ways to connect with a student who consistently ends up in summer school programs and remedial classes and help them make it to a highly recognized college.

An example is the case of a Mexican immigrant family in San Jose whose home was destroyed when the Coyote Creek flooded its banks. Rocketship worked to help them find shelter, along with many other families who had been affected by the disaster. The flood had disrupted the lives of many in the community, but Rocketship schools went the extra mile to help their students continue to succeed by helping their families directly.

Rocketship Education also has schools in the Washington, D.C. that worked to help families there who suffered water damage to their homes and possessions. The schools helped students’ parents with rental deposits, insurance costs, and funds for buying new clothes and supplies after the flooding.

It also innovates in bringing school closer to their students’ families. Teachers with Rocketship schools visit the homes of their students to get an idea of the difficulties that they may be facing. This insight then can be used to make a more personal curriculum.

Rocketship Public Schools is a public charter school based out of Redwood City, California with a mission to transform education in low income communities in the Bay Area, Nashville, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. They are a cooperative of leaders, teachers, families, and students working to unleash the untapped human potential left undeveloped by traditional public schools. Their core values include authenticity, community, tenacity, innovation, and excellence. They build their transformative schools on three pillars of personalized learning, talent development, and parent power.