Most people know Betsy DeVos. She is the 11th US Education Secretary and one of the most polarizing figures in America’s politics right now. Appointed in 2016 by President Trump, Betsy DeVos has been working on educational choice reform for many years. In fact, she has been in education reform for over 30 years.
Her work has finally led her to the top position in education reform in America. However, the issues facing Betsy DeVos have been around much longer than 2016. America’s education system has been under scrutiny since the 1980s with the Reagan Administration. While standardized testing scores have been on the rise, DeVos believes that there are issues with measuring schools with standardized testing, and it has led to an increase in failing schools around the country.
For now, DeVos just wants to put students first. She has been working with state school leaders for many years, only now it goes beyond Michigan’s school system. She has been working with multiple states, but she says that the two most successful has been Louisiana and Florida.
Florida has the most educational choice options. Students in this state can go to magnet schools, private schools, charter schools, and virtual schools. There are also options for homeschooling programs in most states. DeVos is working with multiple state leaders to get more charter school programs in place, but many are weary. They believe that public funding will be used for private schools.
DeVos has argued that they don’t understand how the programs work. In fact, philanthropy has helped private schools more. The DeVos Family Foundation has donated over $35 million to education in recent years. However, she has also had backers like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sam Walton. These donors have given millions to help the educational choice movement.
When asked why educational choice will be successful, DeVos says that the programs put students first, allowing them to pick schools that have more courses and programs for their interests. In the rise of Common Core method, many parents and students wanted other options.
In addition to educational choice, DeVos has been put in charge of school safety reform. Since the rise of gun violence in 2018, DeVos has been working on new policies and regulations that will make campuses safer. Many of these new policies were put in place before the 2018-2019 school year.
DeVos has until 2020 to get more states on board with educational choice. She is currently touring the country’s schools with the First Lady.
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