Thursday, June 15, 2017

How Betsy DeVos Could Break Up The Charter School Coalition

How Betsy DeVos Could Break Up The Charter School Coalition:

How Betsy DeVos Could Break Up The Charter School Coalition

The fragile bipartisan alliance that formed around the charter school movement could fall apart in the Trump era.

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a bold choice of opening anecdote in a speech to charter school advocates on Tuesday: Shetold the story of how her family chose to forego the public education system entirely, sending her young son to a Christian private school.
DeVos spoke of the need to ensure that poor students had the ability to attend not just charter schools, but private schools, too — just as her son had done. It was a heavy allusion to the necessity of a voucher system — one that would allow families to use taxpayer money to pay for private and religious schools.
But vouchers have long been considered politically toxic for many in the charter school movement, who are already wondering how closely their schools — attended primarily by low-income, black, and Latino students — should link their fortunes to those of the Trump administration.
“Charter schools are here to stay,” DeVos told the crowd on Tuesday. “But we must recognize that charters aren’t the right fit for every child. For many children, neither a traditional nor a charter public school works for them.”
When DeVos singled out a charter school for praise, she then praised a private school in the next breath, singling out several "Christian schools," including one that operated, mostly tuition-free, in a homeless shelter.
Her remarks were received with limited enthusiasm, among what should have been one of the friendliest crowds the controversial DeVos will address — a group of teachers, administrators and advocates who have embraced school choice as a solution to inequality. Less than half the audience stood to applaud as she finished, and many others remained silent.
“I was surprised at the reaction she got here, honestly,” said one conference attendee, a charter operator who said he was a strong supporter of DeVos. “This is one of the best places that she could be: a very friendly crowd full of school choice advocates. I was a little stunned that there wasn’t bigger support for her.”
“Maybe it was because it was so early in the morning,” he added. “People haven’t had their coffee.”
DeVos is the most ardent supporter of school choice to ever serve as education secretary, advocating policies that would elevate parents’ ability to choose their child's school above all other considerations. In a Trump budget that would slash billions from every other corner of education funding, DeVos’s department has carved out $1 billion to expand school choice nationwide.
But by advocating for public money to flow to private and religious schools alongside How Betsy DeVos Could Break Up The Charter School Coalition:
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