With nearly two years in office, Betsy DeVos has done some major work in education reform. While her appointment to a shock to many in the education sector, DeVos has stood by her platform and promoted educational choice as the answer to America’s public school issues.
Education reform has been a polarizing topic since the 1980s when the Reagan Administration issued a report on the failing American public school system. Ever since then, educators and lawmakers have differed on how to teach America’s children. Some believed in standardized testing and Common Core, but both have their pitfalls. For one, children may not be comprehending as much as they are memorizing for standardized tests.
DeVos has been in several interviews over the past few years talking about the challenges and successes she has found since coming into office. Of course, American education isn’t going to change overnight. She has seen success in a few states however that have embraced educational choice, including Florida and Louisiana. Florida now has the most private choice options for education, including private schools and charter schools. Florida also has a tuition-based scholarship program that is helping many children attend the schools that were once out of reach due to where they lived.
This is what DeVos says is the biggest problem with the American school system. While many believe that she supports public funding for private choice, much of the funds have come from philanthropy, including supporters like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
As Education Secretary, DeVos has vowed to change the way that people see education in America and has given more options in states for virtual schools, private schools, charter schools, and homeschooling.
For many years, DeVos has backed these programs. In the early 2000s, she worked with her husband to lobby a ballot with “Kits First! Coalition,” which was in support of private choice and adding more charter schools. While the legislation was unsuccessful, Michigan continues to be a state with the least regulations on charter schools, which is a cause for concern for Democrats and Republications alike.
DeVos says that these schools promote focus on the student. The programs are all about what education has to offer the student and how students are responding to these changes has been remarkable. Many students who were floundering in failing schools have found new opportunities through private schools.
Trump also recently appointed Betsy DeVos as the leader of school safety reform. Due to the recent school violence in America, DeVos now must make some tough decisions on how schools will treat violence, particularly with guns. DeVos says that she is up for the task and has always considered school safety to be one of her biggest concerns.
As DeVos moves into the next two years of her term, it will be interesting to see what new states adopt private choice and whether it will be a long-term success.
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