DeVos: Picking a school should be like choosing among Uber, Lyft or a taxi
In 2012, former Florida governor Jeb Bush gave a speech in which he likened shopping for a school to selecting milk in a grocery store:
Everywhere in our lives, we get the chance to choose. Go down any supermarket aisle – you’ll find an incredible selection of milk. You can get whole milk, 2 percent milk, low-fat milk or skim milk. Organic milk and milk with extra Vitamin D. There’s flavored milk — chocolate, strawberry or vanilla — and it doesn’t even taste like milk. They even make milk for people who can’t drink milk. Shouldn’t parents have that kind of choice in schools?
On Wednesday, his ally, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, did something similar. DeVos, who like Bush is a fervent believer in school choice, compared selecting a school to choosing among ride-providing options. She made the comment as part of a speech she delivered at the nonprofit Brookings Institution, which unveiled its fifth annual Education Choice and Competition Index, its ranking of school choice in the nation’s 100 largest school districts.
School choice activists who have worked to inject business principles into the operation of public schools say that competition will force all schools to improve. There isn’t any serious evidence that this is true, but this is one tenet of some proponents.
Here is a transcript of her remarks, as prepared for delivery and provided by the U.S. Education Department:
Thank you, Russ, for that kind introduction, and thank you for your work to develop this important report. And thank you to all of you for taking the time to come here today.
This report focuses on something everyone here knows I’m passionate about: increasing education options for parents and students. It’s something I view as a fundamental right too long denied to too many kids. My views on this were shaped early on in my time as a mother.
This experience led me to the following conclusions:
First, parents know what is best for their kids. No parent should be denied the opportunity to send his or her son or daughter to a school with confidence that he or she can learn, grow and be safe.
Secondly, good teachers know what’s best for the students in their classrooms. Teachers deserve more respect than many give them, and more opportunities than the system affords them today.