Betsy DeVos is the new US Education Secretary who has been making a lot of waves in education since her appointment. In addition, she has conducted several interviews, including one with “60 Minutes.” Despite her controversial views, she remains firm on her points and has never shied away from talking about educational choice. While many people don’t understand how it works, she continues to prove that it’s best to put students first when it comes to education.
Educational reform in America is not a new topic, but it has grown in popularity since the rise of DeVos. She has campaigned across the country trying to change educators’ minds about educational choice, but it continues to be an issue of contention. Many educators in public school don’t believe that public funding isn’t being used for private schools, although DeVos says that it just isn’t true.
In her interview with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes,” she was questioned about all of the issues with educational choice, including comparisons made to standardized testing and Common Core Method. These reforms have been shown to improve test scores recently. However, DeVos has said that while test scores may have improved after many years, America is still down in reading comprehension and math skills worldwide.
These issues won’t go away quickly, but DeVos feels like educational choice is a solution for the problems facing students now in America’s school system. Educational choice provides multiple ways for students to find education if they don’t want to go to the school where they are zoned. These issues have caused considerable problems for students and parents, as they try to find suitable schools for their kids.
Often, that involves going to a new school. Educational choice provides that opportunity through magnet programs, virtual schools, homeschooling, charter schools, and private schools. Most states have yet to include more educational choice options. However, DeVos cites Florida and Louisiana as having the most educational choice programs. Students in Florida can pick from all types of schools, and they get a tuition-based scholarship if they are accepted into the program.
Philanthropy has largely paved the way for private choice. DeVos has donated over $35 million to education, and she has co-founded her own charter school in West Michigan. She states that students deserve to have the most options available to them, which is why she has constantly fought for education reform and provided funding where she can. She has major donors on her side, as well. Some of these donors include Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sam Walton.
As DeVos continues her fight in Washington for education, she has also had to work with school safety legislature. In 2018, many new policies were put into action ahead of the 2018-2019 school year. These new safety precautions help schools maintain their campus safety without the addition of more guns, which is something DeVos stated wasn’t the answer in her interview with “60 Minutes.”
DeVos will continue to work with state leaders for the rest of her term, trying to get more leaders to adopt educational policies in their states.
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