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March 31 2017

Media Takes a Pass on Betsy DeVos' Important Speech

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave her first big policy speech on Wednesday, and you probably didn’t read about it because the media barely covered it. The speech discussed the evidence that school choice can improve the lives of millions of students, but that’s so much less important than, you know, how Sean Spicer answered questions at the White House press gaggle.

--Wall Street Journal

Ms. DeVos delivered the speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and it set forth what should be the key idea in educational reform: parents, not the federal government, and not the teacher unions, should have primacy in determining what kind of schools their children attend. But she does not neglect the role of good teachers, who are dedicated to educating their students.

 DeVos began:

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.

And thirdly, state and local leaders are best equipped to address the unique challenges and opportunities they face, not the federal government. Locally driven innovation and customization are far more likely to generate meaningful results than are top-down mandates.

I am in favor of increased choice, but I’m not in favor of any one form of choice over another. I’m simply in favor of giving parents more and better options to find an environment that will set their child up for success.

I’m opposed to any parents feeling trapped or, worse yet, feeling that they can’t offer their child the education they wish they could. It shouldn’t matter what type of school a student attends, so long as the school is the right fit for that student.

The Wall Street Journal praised DeVos' "welcome modesty" that contrasts from a federal government that has "has for years tried to find the single education model, or single reform, that could be replicated everywhere:"

There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all system of education: A magnet school is not inherently better than a traditional school, nor is education at a private school inherently better than education at a charter school.

Similarly, there is no one delivery mechanism of education choice: Open enrollment, tax credits, home schools, magnets, charters, virtual schools, education savings accounts and choices not yet developed all have their place, but no single one of these is always the right delivery method for each child.

The speech is well worth reading.

 

 

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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