Betsy DeVos is one of the most polarizing figures in American politics today. She is the proponent of educational choice, but she has never shied away from adversity. As the US Education Secretary, it is her duty to make sound choices for America’s students, and that’s what she is doing, according to a recent interview with “60 Minutes.”
In the interview with Leslie Stahl, DeVos answered some tough questions about her programs and the funding that would support private schools. She mentioned that much of the funding actually comes from philanthropists like Sam Walton, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates, as well as her own foundation. Public school funding is still intact, but many say that it is only a matter of time before public funding is used to create private school voucher programs. Betsy DeVos says that this is the way that students are getting a better education right now, because it hasn’t been working with standardized testing and Common Core math.
DeVos is not a fan of standardized testing. While it has been given decades to show proof that it works, students are still behind in reading comprehension and math skills compared to the other top countries in the world. Educational reform is not a new subject. People have been debating the issue since the Reagan Administration in the 1980s. As standardized testing was supposed to be a way to grade students and schools on their education, it hasn’t exactly worked out the best for America’s schools. There are many school zones that have failing education systems and are not suitable for students. This has been the biggest reason that educational choice became necessary.
DeVos may not be from an educational background, but she has worked in educational reform for many years. Her career started at Calvin College, and she continued to pursue educational reform throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, even pushing through a bill in the Michigan government called “Kids First! Coalition.” However, the bill never made it through.
However, there have been some successes in her educational reform movement. For instance, she has worked with schools in Florida, and now the state has the most educational options out of any other state. This includes educational choice programs for those who want magnet programs, homeschooling, virtual schools, charter schools, and private schools. Florida also has a tuition-based scholarship program that allows students to pick the school that they want to attend.
DeVos says the new movement is about students, not public school funding. If students can get better education through a private school curriculum, she believes that there should be options. While she has proponents in the government and private school sector, she has opposition still in the public school area. She will continue to fight for educational choice as well as new school safety reforms in the wake of new gun violence.
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