Can Betsy DeVos Resolve America’s Education Problems?July 6, 2019 - Author: steph
In the past, different administrations have tried their hands at education reform. In the beginning after Ronald Reagan’s report in the 1980s, standardized testing was introduced. It was thought that if schools could be measured for their performance that they would set up a standard. However, this led to many public schools losing funding over poor test scores. Over the years, schools that continued to perform poorly repeatedly received less funding, which only seemed to make the programs worse.
In addition, there were other problems, such as teachers losing salary because of the lack of funding, which meant that they had to supply students with books and school supplies from their own salaries. These problems have been compounded by other policies such as “No Child Left Behind” and “common core method.”
In 2017, Betsy DeVos became the 11th US Education Secretary. She began working with state education leaders to lead reforms in educational choice. She believed that if parents and students could pick schools instead of be forced into failing schools that they would be able to achieve greater results. Many of the problems with failing schools are that they don’t have any funding to support the students, and by placing students first with educational choice, DeVos believed that she was providing a quick way out for underprivileged communities.
However, it wasn’t seen that way by many in the education community, particularly in public education. They condemned educational choice as “private choice” and stated that public funding would be used to pay for for-profit education. DeVos said that it simply wasn’t true, but this didn’t deter many from criticizing the programs without even knowing if they were taking public money.
DeVos still champions education choice and uses philanthropy as the way to pay for the programs in many states. Louisiana and Florida are the top states for educational choice. In fact, DeVos pointed out that Florida has the most programs out of any state currently. In the Sunshine State, students can even use educational choice to enroll in homeschooling and virtual school programs if they are dissatisfied with the school where they are zoned. If a student wants to go into another program at a different school, they can apply for a magnet program. Finally, students can apply for a tuition-based scholarship to go to a private school or charter school if they are accepted.
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