Betsy Devos Is Full of Surprises

No one would have believed that U.S Education Secretary Betsy DeVos disagreed with a decision President Donald Trump made. Yet, she did.


DeVos didn’t talk about it publicly but quietly stood beside the president during the press conference announcing the decision to pull back a federal policy allowing transgender students to use the school bathrooms of their gender identity. An aide stated DeVos was hesitant toward the move but would proceed under the president’s direction.


This is the Betsy DeVos the general public, and those in the nation’s capital, don’t know. She comes across as meek and inexperienced but isn’t always as she seems. DeVos has been in political frays for the past 30 plus years, winning more than she’s lost. Political foes back home in Michigan say she is someone no one should take on as they would an amateur.


Detroit has more charter schools than most metropolitan cities and most believe DeVos has a lot to do with that. She started a non-profit advocacy organization, specifically to promote charter schools and school vouchers where the money follows students. The idea is that parents could use the vouchers to send their children anywhere, reportedly increasing competition among schools.


Betsy DeVos made some waves once she took her secretary post by visiting many schools, including public, private and charter schools, and meeting with those who would typically not seem to be supportive. She called the heads of two prominent teacher unions and toured a series of schools in Miami, including a tour given by the rapper Pitbull. The singer, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez, started a charter school that peaked DeVos’ interest.


Gary Neayaert, former director of the Great Lakes Education Project, said DeVos is unique in another way. While most would think her money would prevent her from empathizing with average Americans, Naeyaert said nothing is further from the truth.


He said she is genuine and a “regular person” who just happens to be a millionaire or billionaire.


DeVos, who is from Holland, Mich., is an heiress to a fortune created by her father, Edgar Prince, who turned auto parts into a billion-dollar business. He was also a primary donor to Christian conservative groups, a trait picked up by his daughter. DeVos’ husband, Dick DeVos, is the heir to his father’s fortune generated by founding the multi-level marketing company Amway.


It is also a surprising fact for many that the couple has given away around $139 million over their lifetimes. They donate to education and Michigan schools, including their own charter school at the Grand Rapids airport, cultural efforts, art education, and local Michigan community groups.


Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.

ClassDojo is Encouraging Change in Your Child’s Classroom

ClassDoho is improving classrooms in schools all over the world. It focuses on one main goal, and that is to boost the level of communication between parents, teachers, and students.

The company is based in San Francisco, California. ClassDojo has been in operation since 2011. They are encouraging a student’s learning by sharing. Teachers can share, parents can share, and the students can speak up and be heard. ClassDoho is a popular communication app used by millions of teachers and students for grades kindergarten through 12.

The unique concept of the company was created by Sam ChaudharyLiam Don. They employ approximately 20 people. They are working to change and personalized classrooms. There was recently an outreach to students, and children around the world were able to speak out and be heard. These young people are the important voice of the future.

ClassDoho is helping to create a positive classroom experience. It provides teachers the opportunity to share their classroom activities. They can speak out about their own students, and share their own style of teaching methods and creative ideas. When the children are engaged, it helps to make learning fun. The teachers, the students and the parents can stay connected throughout the school term, and not just on parent’s night.

The fact that the app can be translated is an important feature. There are approximately 10% of students United States that do not speak English, or are not native speakers. ClassDojo helps to overcome the language barrier for the students and their parents. It is another way to encourage and empower the students. Additionally, their parents, who may also speak limited English, are kept abreast of their children’s daily school activities.

Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don have recently received additional venture funding. The company has received $21 million in funding, which they plan to use for new technology. This will be used to create a platform for teacher and parent meetings to be held on a regular basis. This could very well change the course of, or even eliminate, the need for a traditional face to face parent’s night.