Thursday, May 17, 2018

Betsy DeVos knows little about public education. And she doesn’t want to learn. - The Washington Post

Betsy DeVos knows little about public education. And she doesn’t want to learn. - The Washington Post:
Betsy DeVos knows little about public education. And she doesn’t want to learn.



Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited New York City this week. And what did she learn?
Nothing about public education, that’s for sure.
While in New York, DeVos did not visit a single public school. Not a traditional public school, and not a charter school. DeVos, however, did make time to tour a pair of private Orthodox Jewish day schools. She also made time to speak at a breakfast sponsored by two charities that promote Catholic parochial education.
Let me repeat that. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited the nation’s largest public school district, one responsible for educating 1.1 million students annually, and didn’t bother to check out even one public school.

What could she be thinking?
According to the Education Department’s own data, there are more than 50 million students attending U.S. public schools during the 2017-2018 school year. At last count, only 10 percent of the nation’s schoolchildren — about 5.7 million — attend private schools.
DeVos has made no secret of her desire to see that number increase. She is a strong supporter of charter schools and private education. And in her address to the Alfred E. Smith Foundation on Wednesday morning, she appeared to hold private religious education up as the ideal. “Parents hold the inalienable right to decide what learning environment best meets their children’s individual needs,” she said, adding:
There are many in Washington who seem to think that because of their power there, they are in a position to make decisions on behalf of parents everywhere. In that troubling scenario, the school building replaces the home, the child becomes a constituent and the state replaces the family.
Prior to her appointment, DeVos, who was basically a wealthy education hobbyist, was best known for her hostility toward traditional public schools — despite the fact neither she nor her children ever set foot in one as a student. She has ceaselessly lobbied and advocated for charter-school expansions, as well as government vouchers that would pay for private education, including at religious schools. She’s also a strong advocate of homeschooling.
While DeVos likes to wrap herself in the language of the righteous — she claimed on Wednesday morning that she is concerned about the “average” performance of U.S. students when it comes to international rankings — there is little proof that her suggested alternatives to public education will work any better.

While in some places there is evidence that children in charter schools perform better than those in traditional public schools, in other places, it’s just not so. In DeVos’ native Michigan, for example, children in the fourth and eighth grades in the state’s charter schools did worse on Continue reading: Betsy DeVos knows little about public education. And she doesn’t want to learn. - The Washington Post:



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