After much speculation by people who care about such things, President-elect Donald Trump has selected Betsy DeVos to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education, calling her “a brilliant and passionate education advocate.” DeVos is a billionaire philanthropist who has worked for years in the school choice movement. Most recently, DeVos was chairwoman of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group. Newsweek.com provides us with seven things to know about Trump’s pick for education secretary, three of which are highlighted below:
1. She does not support Common Core, “period.”
Upon accepting the position of education secretary, DeVos issued a statement clarifying that she is not a supporter of Common Core, “period.”
Trump’s disdain for the national standards was perhaps the most talked-about education policy issue on the campaign trail, and DeVos’s opinion on the issue was previously unclear.
2. She strongly supports school vouchers.
DeVos believes that every child should have the opportunity for a “top-notch education,” regardless of a family’s financial background.
3. She also supports charter schools.
DeVos and her husband have been actively involved in promoting charter schools for more than two decades and helped to pass Michigan’s first charter school law. Charter schools are publicly funded and open to all students but able to operate with more autonomy than traditional public schools.
DeVos must be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. The American Federation of Teachers released a statement expressing their concern DeVos will “focus on privatizing, defunding, and destroying public education in America.” If you accept the way the AFT defines those things, I hope the union is right.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- THANKFUL: Watchdog.org features stories of families who are thankful for school choice.
- CHARTERS: A record number of Washington, DC charter schools earn high-quality ratings from the DC Public Charter School Board’s rigorous accountability system.
- KENTUCKY: The Bluegrass State is likely to see approval of its first charter schools now that Republicans control the House.
- HOMESCHOOLING: The number of homeschooling families is way up in South Dakota.
- BILINGUAL: NPR speculates bilingual education may benefit the brain in six ways; among them, teaching kids to pay attention.
- ALASKA: The Department of Education won’t penalize Alaska for cancelling its statewide standardized test last April after technical failures.
- COMMON CORE: Some anti-Common Core groups are disappointed in Trump’s choice of DeVos to head DOE, saying they’re not convinced she opposes the learning standards.
- TRIGGERED: Some students at Hampshire College view the American flag as a “powerful symbol of fear,” so the school has taken down its flag until they can discuss what it means to various people.
- WORLD COMPETITION: The United States makes gains on the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) but is still way behind Asian competitors.
- ACCOUNTABILITY: DOE has released final regulations on school accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act, giving states a longer timeframe to rate schools.
- MONEY TALKS: Finalizing a new contract with the Chicago Public Schools teachers union took 22 months and cost taxpayers at least $1 million.
- TEACHING PAYS: The Philadelphia School District is offering its largest union a contract worth $100 million.
Thank you for reading! If you need a quicker fix of news about school choice, you can find daily updates online at https://heartland.org/topics/education.