It’s no surprise that Betsy DeVos has finally been praised for her educational choice reform. Many did not believe that educational choice was an option for them, but as the rise of virtual schools continues, more parents and teachers are liking the idea of sending their students to a school with a better curriculum. While DeVos says that she doesn’t have it out for public schools, she has stated that she wants to put students first.
By sending students to schools outside of their district, many in education feel that the new program torpedoes public schools and takes away funding. However, DeVos says that educational choice doesn’t use public funding. She has stated this over and over, including in a major televised interview on “60 Minutes” in 2018. While DeVos has many critics from the Democratic party, she has also received some support.
Elizabeth Warren has voiced support for educational choice. She has stated that it helps middle class families with two incomes as it ensures their children don’t have to settle for bad neighborhoods with failing schools because they can’t afford to live in a better area. While many oppose DeVos because of her background in business, this keen eye for strategy and philanthropy has allowed DeVos to campaign and be successful in several states.
When asked which states offered the most success from these programs, DeVos said that Louisiana and Florida are the states with the most educational choice options. In Florida, for example, students can actually apply for a tuition-based grant to go to a private or charter school. There are also virtual school options, where students can enroll in classes from anywhere. Homeschooling programs are still available for those who want to maintain a curriculum from home. Then there are the magnet schools, which allow students to go to another public school that has a special program. For example, a student may want to study law and think about going to a high school with a magnet program for business law.
Many states have yet to jump on board with educational choice, but that hasn’t stopped DeVos from campaigning. She recently toured the states with First Lady Melania Trump to support educational choice and hopefully get more sponsorship from education leaders. However, the progress has been slow she has taken office in 2017. Part of the slowdown was another movement to protect students from gun violence.
In 2018, DeVos started working on school safety reform to help students with safety problems. This would include a new campus guardian who would protect students against violence and stay vigilant for warning signs and gun-related activity. However, other school districts faced a decision on whether to allow teachers to carry guns as well.
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