Betsy DeVos is the new Secretary of Education who sits on President Donald Trump’s cabinet. She is in charge of leading our nation’s educational policy, and she has great influence over many different programs. One area where Betsy has been very active over the years has been as an advocate of school choice and school vouchers for students and parents.
There is no doubt that we are in the position of the “haves and the have-nots” when it comes to education in America. We do still have a crisis in the inner cities and very rural areas of the country, and even after over 70 years of spending billions of dollars on education, we are not making any progress. Read her interview with Philantrophy Table.
Test scores and ultimate outcomes are the determining factors of how well our educational system works, and the areas that need the most work, still have the least satisfactory results. Our educational systems still only rank 14th in the world, and we are judged to be the 2nd most ignorant country in the world.
This is why Betsy DeVos clings to the philosophy of allowing parents and students choices in where and how they wish to receive educational instruction. Betsy makes the point very plain when she asks why does a students’ formal education have to be tied to a zip code and one building when we have so many technological alternatives available.
Just about every student from all walks of life in the United States knows how to operate a smartphone or a tablet. There is the perfect device to introduce as a primary way to deliver education in multiple locations, even at home. Betsy was very involved in the Detroit publically funded Charter School project where very positive gains were made in student’s test scores in reading, where the scores nearly doubled those of the public school students. Graduation rates were way up too, compared to the public schools.
The environment was the same, and the town was the same, but the Charter schools did better. Evidence from other pilot projects have had similar results, but the entrenched public school system refuses to acknowledge anything new. With most of the budget for public schools going to buildings, administrative salaries, and yes, teacher salaries, there is not much enthusiasm for any divergence.
DeVos repeatedly has pointed out that more money from the Federal Government hasn’t worked up to now, and it is not going to work in the future. Money is not the answer, but innovation is. She points out that new ideas like Uber, Lyft, Apple, and driverless cars can pop up in real life and become effective very quickly, but the old, failed ideas of public education still hang on.
People wrongly accuse DeVos of wanting to do away with teachers, suburban schools, and all of that, but that is simply political fearmongering. Her take on all of the hype is to stick with what is working, but the areas that are not working need change. Read more news on Cleveland.com.