One of the most polarizing figures in American politics today is the 11th US Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos. What makes this education reformer so controversial? For one, she is in the Republican Party, and two, she has used philanthropy to support much of her platform. In addition, she doesn’t have a teacher’s experience under her belt. However, Devos says that in the fight for America’s students, none of this really matters.
In fact, Betsy Devos blames ignorance on the reasons why people don’t want student choice, and if they understood it, they’d probably feel like it was important to have in their school districts as well. However, she also doesn’t believe that people beyond students and parents really understand what is going on in America’s school system today.
For one thing, students are zoned for failing schools where they may be guaranteed to fail, despite having access to resources in other states like Florida and Louisiana. In these states, students are able to choose their school and even select a curriculum that suits them. These programs have been helping students become better graduates who go on to colleges, and that is the measure of success that Devos has defined for her programs.
Since February 2017, it has been a rough road for Devos. She has faced criticism from public school teachers the most who believe that she will use public funding for private school education. Devos says that just isn’t true. In fact, she has been trying to advocate for philanthropy for years as the main supporter of educational choice.
Her backers include Mark Zuckerberg, Sam Walton, and Bill Gates, but it’s her own foundation that has contributed much of the funding. In fact, the Devos Family Foundation has donated over $134 million to the cause. This has created a lot of questions for Devos as to what she plans to do next in the fight for school choice. She says that it starts with working one-on-one with education leaders in all states, as education is controlled at the state level.
In addition to these important reform issues, she has been tasked with leading the school safety movement. This comes after multiple school shootings caused security breakdowns at schools across the country. Schools are now receiving daily threats for violence, which has led to Devos implementing new policies. These went into effect priority to the 2018-2019 school season.
Devos will continue to work on these policies for the rest of her term and face off against critics. It will be interesting to see how she is able to get more states on board with student choice.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.