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Trump Chooses School Choice Champion Betsy DeVos to Head Education

Trump Chooses School Choice Champion Betsy DeVos to Head Education

Devos is a huge supporter of school choice for parents.

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Republican philanthropist Betsy Devos to head the Depart of Education. DeVos has made a name for herself by championing school choice:

DeVos is the chairman of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s largest school choice advocacy group. The federation has worked at the state and local level to advance the expansion of charter schools and other education reforms. She and her husband, entrepreneur Dick DeVos, created the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter high school in Grand Rapids, in 2011.

Nearly 40 percent of the academy’s student body is economically disadvantaged and more than one in three students are minorities. It has reached parity with other district schools and was one of just 93 Michigan schools to earn a Silver Medal from the US News & World Report‘s high school rankings. US News & World Report ranked the school among the top 70 schools in the state, which had about 900 public and charter schools in the 2015-2016 school year, and named it one of the 1,800 best schools in the country.

Trump released this statement:

“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said Wednesday in a statement. “Under her leadership, we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”

A few groups DeVos belongs to has “offered support for the controversial Common Core state curriculum standards,” but The Detroit News reported that Devos’s personal views on the standards “are less than clear.”

Trump criticized Common Core on the campaign trail and even said a few times he would like to eliminate the Department of Education.


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I remember the action of “educators” (not teachers, any more) to the notion of school choice. They said that such a thing would “destroy pubic education.” In retrospect, I have concluded that this was an admission against interest.

They did not have much faith in competition in the market to improve education, and to my mind, exhibited very little concern for children already in poor-quality public schools.

Meanwhile, my children were in a mix of pubic and private schools over the years. The private schools were SO MUCH better. In fact, I so deeply regretted putting my oldest son in one of the best public school systems in the country that I paid for public schools for my younger kids, so long as I stayed in the same area. I moved to an even better-rated school system, and placed my youngest in a public middle school. If I were doing it again, I would have used a private school.

Our public schools are not concerned about the students or the parents. Perhaps competition would be more effective to motivate them.

Definitely “pro-choice” on this one. One of the common things I hear from most everyone, including liberal and conservative parents is something like: “Yes, I know there are problems in public education but OUR schools are well above the state average in terms of test scores, … yada, yada, yada.” I call that the “cream of the crap” syndrome. Yes, it is bad but as long as I am doing better than the next guy that somehow equates to a good outcome. They cannot imagine a system that is not Government based. Sad.

A modest agenda for education:
• Shut down or neuter the Dept of Education
• Eliminate Common Core
• Champion charter schools
• Institute school choice
• Expel the discipline problems; force the parents to deal with them, not the schools.
• Dollar for dollar tax vouchers for private schools
• Eliminate school lunch program

    nordic_prince in reply to pthastings. | November 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    That’s a good start, but I would also add: Any public school graduate needing remediation at college/university should be sent back to his high school for the remediation, courtesy of that high school district. Do that often enough, and they’ll stop giving kids a crap education and a fraudulent diploma ~

      Perhaps businesses should be able to send unprepared employees back to the colleges and universities which mis-educated them, at the colleges’ and universities’ expense.

UFT president Al Shanker: “When school children start paying union dues, that ‘s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.” The sentiment hasn’t changed since the ’70s

but The Detroit News reported that Devos’s personal views on the standards “are less than clear.”

Uh, no. She’s quite clear.
I don’t know why the DetNews is going soft lately. They’re getting as bad as the Det Freep.

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about Common Core. Can you provide some straight talk on this topic?

Certainly. I am not a supporter—period.

I do support high standards, strong accountability, and local control. When Governors such as John Engler, Mike Huckabee, and Mike Pence were driving the conversation on voluntary high standards driven by local voices, it all made sense.

Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position. Sometimes it’s not just students who need to do their homework.

However, along the way, it got turned into a federalized boondoggle.

Above all, I believe every child, no matter their zip code or their parents’ jobs, deserves access to a quality education.

What’s her position on due process for university students? Does she intend to withdraw the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter? And will she revise the department’s position on Title 9 and single-sex bathrooms and lockers in schools?