Filed under: Bureaucracy, Domestic Policy, Economics, Education, Freedom, History, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Falling Behind, Our Public Schools
America’s new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave her first big policy speech last Wednesday, and you probably didn’t hear about it. The media wasn’t interested and barely covered it. There is a lot of opposition to Secretary DeVos, largely from the teacher’s unions.
She spoke at the Brookings Institute, and said”We must change the way we think about funding education and instead invest in children, not in buildings.”
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.
Policymakers at every level of government would do well to maintain a humble acknowledgement of these facts. Let’s put aside the politics of the adults and actually focus on what will best serve kids.
And that’s what brings us here today. Too much of the conversation on education loses sight of the thing that matters most: the individual child. This report sheds light on how districts are providing choices and information to parents and opportunities to students.
In the real world today, every problem with the schools is claimed to be the result of not enough money. Whether it’s your kid being bullied, not learning to read, the choice of textbooks, the quality of the teacher, the remedy is more money for the schools—which doesn’t seem to change anything.
The two school districts that score highest arrive at the high score by different paths. New Orleans provides a wide range of choices to parents —all of its schools are charters (and it’s important to note that charter schools are public schools) and there are vouchers available for a good supply of affordable private schools.
Denver scored well because they have a single application process for both charter and traditional public schools, and a website that allows parents to make side-by-side comparison of schools. The choices, however, are limited.
You can read the whole speech here, and if you are a parent of kids in school, you will want to, and the rest of us who pay the taxes that funds all this would be advised to pay attention too.
When my kids were growing up, we moved a lot, and the kids went to the school in the district where we lived. We didn’t have any real choice, and some teachers were good and some weren’t so good, and we tried to make up at home for whatever seemed to be missing.
If Secretary DeVos can get across her point that the purpose of this whole thing is not to enrich teacher’s unions and politicians, but to give kids an education that is right for them and makes the most of their abilities, we will have won a major battle. It’s no wonder the unions don’t appreciate her. The schools should not be run by politicians in Washington, but by parents and their children. There is no one-size-fits-all education, and what’s right for your kid many not be what was right for mine.