DeVos to Use State Accountability Plans to 'Encourage' School Choice
The Education Department is clarifying recent comments from Betsy DeVos, who said accountability plans could be a mechanism for pushing states to provide educational options for parents and children.
The Department of Education’s approval of state accountability plans will not hinge on whether they include school choice policies, but Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will use the process as an opportunity to “encourage” states to adopt those policies, a department official clarified Thursday.
“She will certainly encourage states to think boldly and embrace school choice and provide more options for students,” an Education Department official says. “There is a distinction between encourage and compel. This administration will encourage states to embrace choice and share best practices, but that’s not compulsion.”
The department official continued: “[The Every Student Succeeds Act] is being implemented based solely on what’s being required by law, and stating anything to the contrary is taking out of context the secretary’s remarks. There’s a distinction between compelling and encouraging, and she’s always been consistent that ESSA will be implemented as Congress intended.”
The remarks in question occurred Wednesday at the Brookings Institution, when DeVos said during an interview that the new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, could be a mechanism for pushing states to provide educational options for parents and children.
Her comments Wednesday, and those clarified through the department official Thursday, roiled the education space as earlier this week President Donald Trump signed into law a resolution that eliminated an Obama-era accountability regulation and in doing so was supposed to prevent future secretaries of education from using its authority to persuade or demand states adopt certain education policies.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Education Committee and chief architect of the education law, did not embrace DeVos’ plan to encourage school choice through the accountability vetting process but reiterated that the law does not mandate states do so.
“Secretary DeVos said that she would follow the law, and the law does not require states to use school choice as an option of fixing schools, so no state should feel compelled to submit a plan they disagree with,” a spokesman for Alexander says.
Alexander has been emphatic about paring back the roll of the federal government and in particular has lashed out about what he sees as the evolution of a “national school board,”DeVos to Use State Accountability Plans to 'Encourage' School Choice | Education News | US News: