US Secretary of Education Betsy Devos has been through several, highly publicized interviews since taking office in February 2017. Despite remaining strong, there have been other constants, such as the hate towards her for policies like school choice. Devos says that she doesn’t think people understand it.
In her interview with “60 Minutes,” Devos faced questions from experienced interview Lesley Stahl who had some real questions about the success of school choice within America’s education system. She pointed out that other reforms have been successful, such as standardized testing. There’s been a 20% increase in scores recently.
Devos believes that issues like teaching for standardized testing and Common Core have put a drain on America’s education system. She believes that students should be able to choose their school and not have it delegated by their zip codes. Students and parents have enjoyed school choice where it is available. Unfortunately, not all states are on board with Betsy Devos’ plans.
However, a few states have been able to implement school choice programs and have seen great success. Devos states that one of these is Florida, which has the most options for students to choose from out of any other state. In this state, your student can choose to go to their school or they can opt for a magnet program, which is a program at another public school that is better for their interests or helps them get out of a failing school zone. There are also virtual schools, and programs for students who want homeschooling.
Most people don’t have a problem with those. It’s the private and charter schools that are causing issues, as people have criticized Betsy Devos for using public funding to benefit charter schools and private schools. Devos says that just “isn’t how it works.” In fact, she says that philanthropy is the driving force behind the success of school choice. This includes donors like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sam Walton.
Devos has been in the public eye for many years now, ever since she was involved in education reform in Michigan. However, now she has a national spotlight, and she is using it to her advantage. For example, with school safety reform, she has been very vocal about changing policies towards security of students, not towards guns. It’s been a difficult issue but something that has helped people see what Devos is really about.
It will be interesting to watch how Devos is able to work with states in the last two years of her term. She will need to get more support if she wants school choice to work in more districts than in Louisiana and Florida.
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