Betsy DeVos is one of the most polarizing political figures in the US government. Appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017 to the 11th office of the US Education Secretary, she has proposed policies that make many in the education community uncomfortable. However, as she has stated in many interviews, it is not her job to make administrators and educators more comfortable, she wants to make students the top priority.
In her recent move, she has proposed more educational choice for new states. Many state leaders have not accepted educational choice options because they have been attacked by the education community. What is the issue with educational choice?
Many education advocates say that educational choice takes away funding for public schools. However, DeVos has publicly stated in many interviews that is not the case. In fact, she has stated that philanthropy is the main reason why there are educational choice options. Many students now have the ability to get out of poor education standards because they can pick another school to go to rather than go to the school where they were zoned.
Part of the problem is standardized testing scores and how they are used to determine what schools receive funding. Many failing schools never receive more funding because they are not able to get their standardized test scores up. Even with new reports that standardized testing scores are up overall, these reports do not reflect the low rank that United States’ education continues to hold throughout the world. In fact, the US ranks 65th in reading comprehension.
In addition, DeVos wants to give students and parents relief right now. She knows that she does not have forever in office to make changes. Educational choice offers the most immediate resolution for students who want to get out of bad schools where they are zoned right now. Educational choice offers these opportunities through magnet school programs, virtual courses, homeschooling, and private schools.
DeVos believes that philanthropy can help education, and she advocates to get more donors to help with her programs. She has received donations from big names like Bill Gates, who is the founder of Microsoft. She also works with Mark Zuckerberg who is the founder of Facebook. These donors have given her the ability to donate millions of dollars to education programs in America.
For the next year, DeVos has worked on helping students through safer campus programs and preventing gun violence. In 2018, she was appointed to lead the school safety reform program, and she has introduced programs and policies such as the Guardian program to help campuses stay safe.
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