For those who have been following American education for the past thirty years, you know that there have been significant changes with each change in administration. However, with the latest change, many people were critical of the new pick of Betsy DeVos for US Education Secretary. Despite what many claim her to be, she has always been an education advocate and has worked hard to help students as American education systems continue to be compared negatively around the world.
One of the problems is standardized testing and Common Core Math. Betsy DeVos recently spoke about her not being a fan of these in an interview with “60 Minutes” and Leslie Stahl. While Stahl asked some poignant questions, he failed to really understand the point of educational choice. However, DeVos has never turned down an opportunity to speak about what she’s doing and for the most part, she has given a voice to parents and students who don’t want to be zoned and forced to go to a failing school.
Educational choice has been a campaign for DeVos for many years. She started at Calvin College, joining various political groups and even graduating to work with Jimmy Carter on his political run. Since then, she has been on her own campaign for education reform in Michigan. She even promoted a state law called “Kids First! Coalition” which supported educational choice. However, it was voted down by Michigan residents.
DeVos isn’t deterred by those who don’t see the value of educational choice. She believes that many don’t realize what it offers to students, which is her main focus. Educational choice means that students and parents have a choice in where they send their students to school. In states with a lot of options like Florida, you can send your student to virtual school, homeschooling, charter schools, private schools, and magnet programs at other schools. Some of these options still support the public school system, while others do support private education.
However, much of the support has come from philanthropy, despite what many say is public funding. DeVos has several donors like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sam Walton who support the educational choice programs, especially because it supports students being able to get the education that they want when there are so many public school systems that are not able to uphold a high quality of education.
DeVos believes that change is coming but this is something that we can all change currently. If students have to go to a different school than where they are zoned because the school hasn’t been effective in its standardized testing and scoring, then it should be allowed for the student to do so.
DeVos says that the programs will start being more successful when adopted by more states. Currently, her most successful programs are in Florida, where the state has fully embraced the educational choice option and provided the most options to their students.
To learn more, visit www.betsydevos.com.