Dick DeVos has been at the forefront of many activities affecting the lives of citizens in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan for decades now. One example of his activism took place when a team of developers communicated plans to build a mega sports arena in the downtown area of Grand Rapids.
DeVos was familiar with the destruction a similar construction caused the city of Detroit year before and did not want his own city to suffer a similar fate. He immediately began a campaign against the arena that led to the formation of the Grand Action Group. The group successfully thwarted the arena plans and went on to complete a number of notable constructions of their own.
Dick and his wife Betsy both benefit from being heirs to large family fortunes. The couple has not been shy about using the sizable influence they possess to affect the political climate in Grand Rapids as well as the state of Michigan as a whole.
Betsy has been a frontline fighter for charter school expansion. While Dick played an instrumental role in a 2012 law that transformed the state into one that favored right to work policies. Previously, Michigan was a state that leaned heavily in the direction of organized labor.
Dick DeVos also started the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The charter school is a non-profit that began in office space located at the Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids. The school began its operations with 80 students.
The Aviation Academy now provides an education to more than 600 students who live across seven counties in the state of Michigan. The school also has its own campus now.
The school is in line with the rhetoric and philosophies communicated by Betsy for years. It is also in line with the concepts she wishes to push throughout the nation in her new position as the Secretary of Education.
The Great Lakes Education Project is a school advocacy group founded by Dick and Betsy DeVos. The organization includes a political action committee. The Education Project and other groups associated with Betsy DeVos fought against a proposal in Detroit to create a commission that would oversee the openings of schools in the city.
Betsy DeVos expressed her belief recently that the problems with the educational system in America cannot be solved by bigger government. She says the key is listening to parents and dealing with education on a local level.
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