Betsy DeVos is one of the most polarizing figures in American politics. Many in education don’t understand her standpoint on educational choice, but she has worked hard in education from the time she was at university at Calvin College. Now that she is the 11th US Secretary of Education, DeVos continues to work hard for students. She has stated that students come first in many interviews, but it’s been difficult to hear her message as many in the Democratic party do not support educational choice.
However, that isn’t the case for presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who actually wrote about the success of educational choice and vouchers. DeVos has been fighting against the assumption that educational choice requires public funding. She has stated in interviews such as with “60 Minutes” that educational choice is funded by philanthropy and doesn’t use tax dollars.
Educational choice allows students to pick schools outside of where they are zoned. This helps students who are dealing with problems in their current networks, such as impoverished students attending failing schools. Public schools also have a problem with common core and teaching to standardized tests, which DeVos wants to prevent. She believes that students need to be placed first above all others and given the opportunity to choose their own school.
In states like Florid and Louisiana, educational choice is thriving. In these states, students are able to pick between magnet schools, private schools, charter schools, homeschooling options, and virtual schools. With the rise of online schooling, many students have been able to attend school from home, which solves many problems at once. Students don’t need a voucher to go to these online schools.
In addition, it’s a fear of school campuses, which DeVos has addressed. She started to work with policymakers in 2018, which led to many changes at public schools. Now campuses will have a guardian whose role is to protect the school from any type of gun activity or violence.
One decision remains. Should teachers be allowed to carry guns to prevent this type of violence? DeVos didn’t believe that more guns should be allowed on campus and didn’t agree with the policy, but it was left up to school districts to decide what to do. So far, only a few school districts have allowed teachers to carry guns to school.
In addition to her work with school reform and education reform, DeVos has toured with First Lady Melania Trump in the hope to change people’s opinions on educational choice and philanthropy. DeVos knows the power of philanthropy because it has helped with her campaigns for over two decades. She continues to fight for educational choice across the US even as she has less than a year to bring more states on board.
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