The new US Education Secretary has undergone a lot of criticism since her days in office have begone. It’s a wonder that she has been able to get anything passed through with so much opposition. However, despite what people have said about her not having the educational background, she has been able to make progress in a few states where educational choice is now allowing students to pick the school that they want to go to, instead of it being decided by a school zone.
Many opponents are not happy about the lack of funding for public schools, and they believe that some of the public funding is going to these new programs. However, as DeVos points out, much of the funding for vouchers and educational choice has come from big time philanthropists such as Bill Gates, Sam Walton, and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as her own foundation. DeVos has defended educational choice time and time again, even as she has come under fire for not immediately being able to show great success.
She says that will take time. After all, it has been almost 20 years since standardized testing was institutionalized, and many teachers and students still feel that it is not the best solution to grading students or schools. In fact, it has led some schools to fall into repetitive failing habits and created schools where students are not able to learn as well as other schools. For this reason, DeVos firmly believes that educational choice is the direction that students need to go in now.
Her background in education stems from educational reform. She has spent most of her life working with students and teachers, trying to find new ways to bring better curriculum into student’s lives. However, most focus on her lack of education in her career. Rather she has been a political figure that has turned to philanthropy in order to make many of the decisions in education. Is this a bad thing? It has certainly helped many students go to new schools and find new skills based on programs that were developed outside of the public school system.
Time will tell if this is the way that America’s schools improve. Betsy DeVos has pointed to Florida as one of the successful examples of educational choice. The state has more educational options than any other including magnet programs, virtual schools, homeschooling, private schools, and charter schools. Florida also has a tuition-based scholarship program that allows students to get vouchers to go to public school.
DeVos says that it was her mother who inspired her to work in educational reform. As a public school teacher, DeVos’ mother worked tirelessly with students and often talked about a better way to emphasize student’s education than standardized testing. Currently, DeVos is working on plans for school safety and bringing an end to school violence.
To learn more, visit www.betsydevos.com.