Betsy DeVos is one of the most polarizing figures in American politics today. Educational reform isn’t a new topic. The issue has been around since the 1980s when the Reagan Administration released a report that showed the American education system did not measure up to the rest of the world. In fact, the results showed that American students were behind in almost every category, but most of all, they were behind in reading comprehension and math skills.
In the past 30 years, nothing much has changed. Standardized testing has not created better students. Instead memorization has been key to students passing tests. DeVos has made it a point to do something about educational reform. She has implemented educational choice programs in some states that have been more receptive than others. In a recent interview with “60 Minutes,” the US Education Secretary DeVos talked to Leslie Stahl about the programs that she’s implemented so far and their successes.
The successful part of the programs can only be seen in certain states, including Florida. The state has the most educational choice programs out of any state currently with programs for virtual schools, magnet programs, homeschooling, private schools, and charter schools. Florida also has a tuition-based scholarship program as well.
Betsy DeVos has been working with educators since the beginning of her term to create options for students. Parents and students have looked at educational choice as a way to get out of school zones that are zoned for failed schools who have not been able to pass standardized testing requirements for funding. The issues are steep, and DeVos knows that.
She has been working in educational reform for many years, despite those who say that she lacks experience. Her years in Calvin College, working alongside teachers and students in the “Kids First! Coalition,” is another testament to just how many she cares for students who need help with schooling now, rather than wait for a solution that may never come.
Educational choice certainly has some issues, and there are some questions. For one, how does public funding serve educational reform? Will it go to private school vouchers? Shouldn’t it go to public schools? That is the major concern for most public school systems. However, DeVos points that vouchers currently have been funded through philanthropists such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sam Walton. DeVos has also contributed through the DeVos Family Foundation.
However, DeVos has a long road ahead in the next few years if she wants to make sure that the programs remain in place for students in the states that she has been successful with. Many states have continued to operate without educational choice, but DeVos hopes to soon bring that option to more students. Currently, she is also in charge of the school safety challenge, eliminating gun violence in schools. It has been her top priority since President Trump assigned her to lead the movement in 2018.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.