When it comes to politics, Betsy DeVos is no stranger to controversy, except it seems that all figures in Congress have some of that going around. Despite what many think of the US Education Secretary, she has prevailed a winner in this administration with educational choice.
Many have questioned the policies around student choice, also known as school choice. However, non-profit organizations and donors like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have helped Secretary Betsy DeVos keep educational choice alive.
As she stated in a previous interview, DeVos knows that public education can’t be fixed right away. There has been ongoing problems from one administration to the next, and many believe that it started with reforms in the 1980s during the Reagan administration.
Standardized tests have been a bane for teachers. It’s a methodology that requires weeks of work and if students don’t get the “right” scores, their school may be headed for less funding, possibly even downgraded to an “F” school.
With student choice, families have a chance to send their children to better schools. To those who question the funding of these programs, philanthropy and non-profit organizations have been a huge help to getting students out of failing school zones and into better schools.
It’s also inaccurate to call these programs “private choice,” as magnet schools and virtual schools are often funded under philanthropy and support public education. Private schools and charter schools are also options under educational choice, but only some states provide funding in the form of a voucher.
For the first leg of her career, DeVos focused completely on business and philanthropy. Her donations included performing arts schools, cultural centers, and funding community centers in Michigan. She hailed from Grand Rapids, and so much of her donations were focused on helping schools in the area as well.
DeVos has been working hard over the past few years to help state leaders with educational policies that support students. In addition to educational choice, she has supported new campus security and student safety programs, including a campus guardian program that places a school officer on every campus. So far, this policy has led to safer campuses and a decreased incidence of violence in schools.
For the next few months, DeVos will be an important figure to watch. In an election year, there’s always a question of whether the education secretary will be kept for another term. It would be crazy for President Donald Trump to remove DeVos as she has been a great supporter of students and has opened the door for families to have access to better schools in part of the country.