Betsy Devos Fights for Educational Choice
Betsy Devos is one of the most polarizing figures in United States education reform history. She has not been the first to take on America’s education system, but unfortunately she inherited a lot of problems from previous administrations. She said as much during her address and first speech after taking office of the 11th US Secretary of Education. She stated that nothing that Obama and Bush administration had done for education had worked, including Common Core or “No Child Left Behind.”
Devos has been working in education reform for many years. Most of her experience comes from her work in Michigan with the education system. She proposed such legislature as “Kids First!” Coalition in early 2000s, and she supported her husband’s education initiatives during his gubernatorial run in 2006. However, she has been working to change education in America for many years.
She has used the power of philanthropy to support these goals. She also stated in an interview with “60 Minutes” and Lesley Stahl to state that people who oppose educational choice don’t really understand it. So what is educational choice? While many will tell you that it’s public funding for private education, that’s simply not the case.
Devos has been fighting at the state level to get more states on board with educational choice. The program allows students to pick where they want to go to school, especially when they are zoned for a school that is in a failing zone. They can pick a homeschool program, magnet program, virtual school, private school, or charter school.
Of the new programs, Devos states that Florida has been the most successful. The state has the most educational choice options, and there’s also a tuition-based scholarship program. Students have to apply to get into the program. Devos says that this approach is what students need for a better education in general, and they have been making progress in other states as well, such as Louisiana.
However, Devos still has a long fight ahead of her, but she only has less than 2 years to make changes. While the Trump administration doesn’t support Common Core, education is still controlled at the state level, which means that Devos will have to work quickly to get more of her policies in place before she comes up for office in 2020.
Devos has also been charged with school safety reform. With the abundance of school violence this year, President Trump appointed Betsy Devos to lead the safety reform movement for schools. Throughout the summer, schools updated their policies and security so that they were prepared for students in the 2018-2019 season.
Now Betsy Devos will be working towards a better education for all, and she has the backing of a variety of philanthropists including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sam Walton. The additional support makes it clear that Devos is doing something right when it comes to America’s system.
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