Have you seen the latest from Washington? Betsy Devos, the new US Education Secretary, has been campaigning across the US to change America’s school system. Educational reform has been an issue since the 1980s when the Reagan Administration published a report that the American school system was failing students. Ever since then, we have been trying to implement new ways to help regulate school performance through standardized testing. However, that hasn’t exactly worked.
If a student is located in a zone with a failing school, they have very little options in some states. Betsy Devos is trying to change that with educational choice. This initiative would allow students to pick where they go to school regardless of where they live. However, this has caused considerable controversy as some critics say that public funding will go to help students enroll at private schools.
Devos says that this is a misunderstanding from people who don’t understand what educational choice offers to students. In fact, philanthropy has supported many of the schools and children attending private schools. She has received donations from Sam Walton, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as donating from her own foundation.
Devos has always been committed to educational reform. She attended Calvin College and was immediately drawn to politics as well as education. Part of this is due to her upbringing. In her house, her mother frequently talked about being a public school teacher, which left Devos with the impression that both students and teachers in the system weren’t getting what they needed in terms of a good curriculum or options for schools.
Now that students have educational choice in some states, there are finally some reports on how well the students are doing in these new programs. For example, in Florida, where the state has the most educational choice options, students can pick between magnet programs, virtual school, homeschooling, private school, and charter school. In addition, the state has a tuition-based scholarship program. Of course, students still have to qualify in order to get these benefits and go to a private school.
Devos was interviewed on “60 Minutes” recently where she was questioned about the successfulness of these programs compared to some of the other programs put in place decades ago. Betsy says that the programs still need more time to show how successful they can be for helping students graduate and improve their comprehension skills.
Devos is currently heading up the school safety reform movement as well for the 2018-2019 school year.
Visit http://www.betsydevos.com/ to learn more.