The status of American education
Trump emphasizes charter schools with Ed pick
March 22, 2017
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Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos just became Secretary of Education, following President Donald Trump’s nomination and Senate confirmation.
DeVos’ family has achieved great success in business, so her roots are deep in the wealthiest of social classes. DeVos pursued a career as the Michigan Chairwoman for the Republican Party and her policies now emphasize school choice, voucher programs, and charter schools.
“Generally, people expect there to be a certain level of expertise in leading a department,” said Government teacher Dr. Erin Wigginton.
DeVos’s lack of exposure to the public school system is a serious concern shared by many American educators and students as she is now responsible for organizing and providing financial aid to school systems. Her occupation as Secretary of Education gives her control over funds exclusive to public education, which means immense power delegated to one person.
To be clear, charter schools are still public schools; however, they are often on separate monetary streams and have different standards than public schools.
“Charter schools work best where public schools are not providing adequate […] education to students; FCPS already offers such an exceptional educational opportunity,” said Wigginton.
DeVos’s most publicized policy is to promote charter schools, which is where many become skeptical of the legitimacy of the success she ensures. Granted, there is a presence of public school counties across the country who are underfunded and overpopulated, and it is counties like this that are often the ones targeted for charter schools. In successful counties like FCPS, however, charter schools are rare because they are not often seen as essential.
DeVos’s emphasis on charter schools starts the conversation about potential effects on our current public school system.
“[Charter schools] would make public schools more competitive, and there is nothing wrong with that,” said World History teacher Leigh Shipman.
The mindset for many is that the future will come soon enough, and that is when we will see the results of the DeVos’s appointment. For now, however, speculation continues based on her previous policies to determine what the education system in America could look like in the foreseeable future.
“[DeVos] is not an educator, she is an advocator… a lobbyist,” said Wigginton.