Betsy Devos: the new Secretary of Education

Have you seen the news about school safety lately? A lot of the new policies and regulations are going into place as the 2018-2019 school year starts. US Education Secretary Betsy Devos has been working with educators, security administrators, and President Trump to define a safer yet fun atmosphere for students. It’s been problematic to also focus on educational reform and the quality of schools as well, as so much talk around American schools is about safety instead of quality education.


However, that doesn’t deter Devos from her task. Ever since she was appointed in 2016, her mission has been to change each state’s guidelines towards educational choice. This would provide more options for students to go to school rather than just sticking to their school district. Devos believes that having to choose a failing school because of where you live is devastating for parents with bright kids who deserve a good school.


This has led to the prominence of magnet programs, virtual schooling, homeschooling, and charter schools. Private schools are now on the list of options that students can select if they qualify. There are some states that have fully adopted these programs and have begun to see changes in the quality of education. Devos mentions Florida as one of the more successful implementations of the program as the state has its own tuition-based scholarship program.


Devos says that philanthropy has gone a long way to back these programs. She has donated over $134 million to charities through the Devos Family Foundation, but educational choice is also backed by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sam Walton. These philanthropists have supported the rise of educational choice and given breath to new ideas in education in certain states.


However, Devos is working against the clock to make both issues, school safety and education reform, her main priorities. It’s been slow to work through the crowds as she has faced opposition around the country. Most Americans are polarized on the issues, not understanding exactly how educational choice is separated from public funding, which is the main reason why public school teachers have called out the education secretary in the past. They also don’t like that she hasn’t been a teacher.


That doesn’t mean Devos isn’t experienced. She has spent most of her collegiate and professional life vying for educational reform, something that she attributes to her mother who was a public school teacher.


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