Have you seen Betsy DeVos in the news? She has been dealing with criticism from multiple angles for educational choice policies. However, when asked, many people didn’t really understand how educational choice worked or even how it was funded. When she was interviewed for “60 Minutes” by Leslie Stahl, she answered most of these questions candidly, saying that people who thought public funding was paying for private school education didn’t understand how it worked.
So how does educational choice work?
For the most part, students are able to pick where they want to go in a state that has educational choice. If you don’t want to pick the high school that you’re zoned for, you can go somewhere else and get into a different program. These are great programs for those who have different interests and want to be able to work with teachers in music, law, business, performing arts, and other specific interests.
These are called magnet programs, and they are central to educational choice programs. However, most people are concerned with a much smaller part of the program that allows students to get vouchers for private school and charter school education. In fact, this funding comes from philanthropy. DeVos has plenty of educational choice supporters, including donors like Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. In addition, the CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates and the CEO of Wal-Mart have also commended and donated to DeVos’ campaign.
DeVos has been touring the country with First Lady Melania Trump. Her visits to several schools have been able to showcase the good progress that the schools have had since she has taken office. While she is dealing with a variety of leftover programs from different administrations, DeVos has been able to keep things even and talk through interviews with a level head.
In 2018 after the Parkland shooting, many students were devastated, and President Trump put DeVos in charge of school safety reform. DeVos took the lead and began working with security leaders to figure out systems for schools that would improve the safety of students without adding more guns to the program.
DeVos’ policies have so far been working, and many schools have implemented a new guard program that makes it easier for students to feel safer at school. However, DeVos will still have to work with other education leaders to them more involved in the educational choice debate.
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