Betsy DeVos is one of the top figures in America’s education reform fight. She has been in the fight for several decades, trying to bring educational choice to the forefront, and yet she has always been stuck behind standardized testing and Common Core. While she has foght hard to become the 11th US Education Secretary, many have criticized her position and also stated that she has never been a teacher.
To those who oppose her, Betsy DeVos has nothing but smiles. She says that being the US Education Secretary is a dream come true, and it has given her some true insight into the educational problems happening all over the country, not just in her neck of the woods. Still, DeVos has committed to the fight for educational choice before. In Michigan, she proposed legislation to help with charter schools and private schools.
Many believe that it is these actions that show she will use public funding for private schools, but that just isn’t the case according to DeVos. She states that anyone who thinks that simply doesn’t understand the policies. Perhaps they do not know how it works.
So what is educational choice?
With educational choice, students are able to choose where they go to school. If they are zoned for a particularly bad school, for example, they can apply for a magnet program or private school in order to get out of going to a failing school or to get into a program that matches what they want to learn. For example, some magnet programs are for performing arts and others are for music or law. It’s clear that DeVos has had to fight hard with educators on these points, as many don’t see her perspective.
In fact, it’s most often brought up that DeVos isn’t a teacher and doesn’t understand what it would to have more funding for public schools instead. DeVos states that she had a mother who was a public school teacher, and she knows how difficult it can be. However, educational choice is what can give students and parents relief right now, as opposed to many years in the future.
There are a few states that have been successful with these new programs. The most successful has been Florida, which has the most educational choice options, as well as a tuition-based scholarship program. The scholarship helps pay for students educational needs, while students can choose to go to a magnet school, private school, charter school, homeschooling program, or virtual school. These programs are giving students options to further their career even before they graduate.
It’s been difficult getting people to understand these points, but DeVos continues to conduct interviews in the hopes that people will start to see that is doing her best to help students first. That’s also where student safety is concerned. There were a number of policies updated in the summer of 2018 as well as safety measures implemented. DeVos will continue to work hard for school safety throughout 2019 and 2020.
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