Betsy DeVos abruptly stepped down as Secretary of Education in the wake of the unprecedented tumult at the U.S. Capitol. How should we summarize her legacy? Despite the limitations of her office to truly effect change, she clearly made a bold mark for a life-changing cause she deeply believes in—school choice.
DeVos finishes as one of the longest-serving Cabinet members in the waning Trump administration. During her term she endured more than her fair share of vitriol, mostly fueled by union leaders who carried grudges over her political support for school choice at the state level.
As of February 2017, when DeVos was sworn in, 25 states combined to provide vouchers, tax credits or savings accounts to nearly 400,000 students whose families used the extra funds to choose private education. Throughout her tenure, DeVos sought to expand such opportunities to even more students, regardless of where they lived.
President Trump originally campaigned on providing $20 billion for school choice. Families in need of educational alternatives awaited a more detailed proposal, even as some supporters raised reasonable questions about the dangers of overreach and entanglement that could come with federal dollars.