Betsy Devos: the new Education Secretary

Most people know Betsy Devos as the US Education Secretary, but she has been working in education circles far before this moment. In fact, she has been helping to build the education system in Michigan. By working through her foundation and other philanthropists, she has created a space where students are able to pick where they want to go to school. This places more emphasis on learning as students can now pick where they want to go and don’t have to rely on living in a certain area in order to go to a school that isn’t failing.


There are a number of schools that are failing in the United States, despite reports that show that standardized testing scores are up 20 percent. Betsy doesn’t really condone Common Core Math or standardized testing. She wants students to enjoy the right curriculum, and currently, it’s difficult to say how public schools fit in. While philanthropy has been a major rule for providing for these programs, Betsy Devos has stated that her foundation alone has donated over $134 million to the educational choice movement.


She also has backers like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sam Walton. Philanthropy is one of the driving forces behind educational choice. Without it, there would be more difficulty in getting funding for some of these programs as they help underprivileged children qualify for better educational programs.


Educational choice simply means that students can go to any school, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the student gets a voucher to do so. While much of the argument revolves around public funding for private schools, students actually have to pass rigorous testing and application process before being accepted into a charter school or private school program. Even then, it’s very difficult to get a voucher while getting a scholarship first.


Devos has been speaking around the US about educational choice, but she has also tackled other issues since taking office. One of the biggest is school safety reform. She was appointed to head the movement after there were a few different school shootings. Ultimately, Devos said that she wants America’s schools to be safe spaces where children can focus on learning and not violence. To this end, she doesn’t agree that teachers should be trained to operate a gun. She wants to keep as many guns off campus as possible.


Devos will continue to work in Washington for another two years and hopefully make some headway in school choice and school safety.


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