Betsy Devos has once more found herself in critic’s crosshairs for her visit to Miami, this time accompanied by the rapper Pitbull. Pitbull is a controversial figure. Many of his songs are laden with profanity and some of his opponents have called his lyrics misogynistic. However, Pitbull also started a charter school and makes numerous charitable donations to the less fortunate.
Critics threw Devos’ Christianity at her and questioned why she would spend time with a rapper like Pitbull, but apparently forgot the parable of Jesus and the tax collector. Her critics would rather Devos’ behave as they do—as judgemental critics that want the power of right and wrong—rather than as someone willing to do what it takes to expand school choice.
The expansion of school choice is Devos’ main platform, and her visit to Florida included visits to many different school institutions. These schools included a private Christian academy, a public elementary school, and two higher-education institutes.
Devos’ visited the CARE Elementary School, previously called the Christian Academy for Reaching Excellence. The school is part of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program, which provides tax breaks for individuals and businesses that donate money for private scholarships. This allows students from low-income families to attend private schools without the financial burden.
She also visited SLAM, a charter school opened by Pitbull. This school is part of a for-profit educational network called Academica, a network that has recently come under fire for ethics complaints due to its ties to state legislators. In the past decade, schools in the Academica network have received a larger share of state capital funding. However, with celebrity backing, these schools can receive private donations without the criticism of arm-chair politicians.
Regardless of viewer’s thoughts on Pitbill, Betsy Devos has made it clear she will not discriminate between school types or locations in her push to further educational opportunities in America. She has visited Florida several times, and is a longtime ally of former Florida governer Jeb Bush. Her family home is also located in the state. However, despite her strong ties to Florida, Devos has made strides in bettering education across the country.
Florida acts only as a starting point. After all, it’s easier to fix problems in your own backyard first before moving on to the rest of the neighborhood. It will be interesting to see what changes Devos can make to the education system.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.