The new US Education Secretary has traveled all over the country to deliver a message. Educational choice is the answer. However, many in education disagree and have no problem telling her their opinion on what she has done to the public school system. In truth, Betsy DeVos has shown immense support for non-public schools ever since she started working in education reform in the 1990s. Her platform has always been in favor of philanthropic support for charter schools and private choice, which has led to some questions about her ideas on public funding for private schools.
While DeVos has been a polarizing figure in education reform, she has been most critiqued on her inability to bring charter schools and education choice to Michigan, her home state. Throughout the 2000s, she tried unsuccessfully to get a ballot through called “Kids First! Coalition.” The ballot promoted private choice, charter schools, and scholarships. While Michigan rejected the legislation, she continued to fight for education choice.
As the US Education Secretary, she has gone around the country supporting these efforts. She states that her biggest success has been in Florida. The state has the most options for private choice and also has a tuition-based scholarship program that sends students to college. It has helped students pay for college when they had nothing.
In a 2013 interview, DeVos stated that school choice was a better option as public schools are not able to succeed. She also stated that public schools are failing around the country. Education reform is not a new topic. Since the Reagan administration, America has tried to figure out what is wrong with their education system. DeVos states that educational choice is the answer because it places emphasis on the schooling that is right for the child, rather than forcing a child to attend a failing public school just because of where he or she lives.
DeVos is also a champion of charter schools and has helped co-found an aviation charter school in her hometown of Grand Rapids. Charter schools are apart of the educational choice option. Students should be able to attend all types of schools, according to DeVos. This includes virtual schools, homeschooling, charter schools, and magnet programs.
President Trump has also placed DeVos in charge of school safety reforms. With the onslaught of school shootings, DeVos now has to tackle ways in which to keep public schools safe while still working towards the educational choice reform that has been difficult since the beginning. Most of the problem is with public educators who feel that Betsy DeVos is ignoring the issues with public education in order to gain public funding for private school institutions. However, DeVos firmly believes that educational choice supports students more than any other reform that has been made int he past two decades.
What do you think of Betsy DeVos’ education reforms?
For updates, follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook.