Have you seen Betsy DeVos in the news lately? There has never been a more polarizing figure in American politics. However, if you follow education reform, then you know she had her work cut out for her from the very beginning. However, DeVos has never been one to shy away from a challenge, and she has been working within education reform for many years now. In fact, she was inspired to do so because of her mother, who was a public school teacher.
DeVos has met challenges along the way. It’s no secret that education reform is difficult to talk about. There are so many different ways to approach the education system in America. However, DeVos believes that educational choice is the right way for Americans go to school. Some agree, and others have pointed out the flaws in that type of thinking.
For one, people don’t agree with public funding for educational choice, because it could lead to supporting for-profit education systems with taxpayer money. However, the truth is that philanthropy has long supported educational choice programs, not public funding. In fact, some of the major donors to the cause include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sam Walton. These philanthropists have gotten behind the idea that students should be allowed to choose where they go to school, which is what DeVos believes is the whole point.
Education should be about the students, she recently stated in an interview with “60 Minutes.” Leslie Stahl had some tough questions for the US Education Secretary, asking whether she thought that any of the new programs were as successful or more successful than those in the past. For example, he questioned her about standardized testing.
For years, educators have said that standardized testing only teaches memorization and not comprehension. There are other issues with the education system, including Common Core method teaching. Betsy DeVos is not a fan. She believes that parents and students should have the option to pick where they want to go to school, and that doesn’t always mean a for-profit school either. There are magnet programs, virtual schools, homeschooling, charter schools, and private schools that can be selected under educational choice.
The whole idea is that students don’t necessarily have to go to the school that they are zoned for. Is it a temporary solution to a much larger problem with public school education? DeVos is unsure. She has seen great success with the new program in certain states, however. For example, Florida has the most educational choice options in the entire country with a tuition-based scholarship program that is helping students go to the schools of their dreams.
There are other states that are also building their educational options, including Louisiana. However, DeVos shies away from questions about the effectiveness of charter schools in Michigan. For many years, she tried to get a bill passed called “Kids First! Coalition” that was voted down each time. The bill would have supported charter schools and educational choice options in Michigan as well.
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