Throughout history, education has been a difficult and polarizing topic for Americans. However, one thing is true. Most families just want to send their kids to a good school. What qualifies a school to be considered an “A” institution? How are some kids able to go to schools outside of their zones? As the new US Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos has fielded many questions about the state of education and what she believes is best for the American student.
For many decades, America’s schools were caught in a limbo of reform policies. First, standardized testing tried to bring student’s reading and math levels up, while also penalizing schools for poor test scores. Then, there was the “No Child Left Behind” policies of the Bush administration. Finally, Common Core Method was introduced during the Obama administration.
Betsy DeVos has had to fight a lot of red tape and poor administrative rulings on education during her time in office. It has only been a little bit over a year, but already, she has been criticized for her push for educational choice. DeVos believes that it is the one thing that can help America’s students feel good about going to school again, especially when there are so many failing schools. However, DeVos doesn’t get into the topic of how to improve failing schools. Instead, she focuses on what needs to help students right now.
For her, that’s always been educational choice. With these programs, students have more options than just the schools where they are zoned for. This includes schools that have major problems and continuously lose funding for poor test scores. While DeVos knows these issues are problematic, she contends that students receive more help from philanthropy and educational choice.
Students in Florida, for example, can choose between a variety of programs, including magnet schools, private schools, charter schools, homeschooling programs, and virtual schools. In addition, students can apply and receive a tuition-based scholarship. Students must still apply and get into a school before receiving eligibility for the scholarship program.
DeVos thanks her donors for helping the educational reform movement. While many have said that she is not qualified for the position, DeVos has worked hard over many decades to become an education reform leader, working with the Republican Party in Michigan to change legislation. She introduced the “Kids First!” Coalition bill in Michigan in the early 2000s. However, becoming US Education Secretary has been the greatest achievement yet.
For the next two years, DeVos will be working with state education leaders to introduce more educational options in other states, as well as new school safety reforms to prevent gun violence on public school campuses.
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