President Trump wanted Betsy DeVos to be his education secretary even though Trump and DeVos didn’t know each other. Trump knew DeVos, and her husband Dick, were big Republican donors, and he knew Betsy felt the same way he did about the public school system. Betsy’s influence and money turned the Michigan public school system into what Betsy calls “the school system of the future.” DeVos turned to investors for support and the Michigan charter school system was suddenly a reality. DeVos said charter schools would help students get better test scores. And these investor-funded schools would increase their comprehension skills. But according to Michigan test score results, the kids in charter schools are not performing much better than the children who are still in the public school system.
The charter school program wasn’t Betsy’s idea. A University of Massachusetts professor came up with the idea in the 1970s. And California got the charter school ball rolling in the 1980s. Today there are more than 6,800 charter schools across the country, and Betsy believes elementary learning should be a capitalistic venture. And the charter school are capitalistic so they are not a whole part of the public school system. They have their own agenda’s and they follow the rules set up for charter schools. Even though any kid can go to a charter school, some students don’t meet the academic criteria. Betsy’s voucher system is giving more low-income students a chance to learn in charter schools. The public school system is under attack by the government. And according to teachers, charter schools are not the answer to the education dilemma.
Betsy recently made an unannounced visit to the Teacher of the Year meeting, and she asked the top teachers in the country what issues needed fixing. Jon Hazell, the top teacher in Oklahoma, told DeVos money that should go to public schools is being redirected to the charter school system, and the lack of funding was definitely hurting public schools. Hazell told DeVos she was creating the issue, and she should be able to fix it. But instead of agreeing with Hazell, DeVos told him she was redefining education, and charter schools are part of the public school system. Obviously, some of the teachers at the meeting thought DeVos didn’t really know what the word “public” meant.
The Teacher of the Year meeting is just one of the uncomfortable situations DeVos faces as she plods through her second year as the education secretary. The teachers who are protesting Betsy’s new education system are angry. Instead of finding common ground with teachers, DeVos pushes them away with comments like “teachers should put students first instead of pushing their own agenda.” Betsy has a knack for saying some pretty unsettling things and her appearance on 60 Minutes didn’t help win any new education friends. Teachers and students say DeVos is out of touch. They say she doesn’t care about the kids in public schools. All she cares about is turning the school system into an investor-driven money maker.
Visit http://www.betsydevos.com/ to learn more.