One of Donald J. Trump’s first acts as President was to employ the first pro-choice, voucher proponent to work in the Department of Education in it’s 40 year history.
“Each student should be measured in the advancement they are making in each subject area”, said Education Secretary Elisabeth Dee “Betsy” DeVos at her May 2017 Senate hearing, in a combative exchange with Sen. Allen Stuart “Al” Franken (D-Minn.), in this debate between whether students should be measured by growth or proficiency.
Franken, who is scheduled to resign Friday after numerous sexual harassment allegations, was openly argumentative with Devos, along with other Democrat senators during her confirmation.
This year Devos has faced such violent opposition to her appearances at public speaking events that she has to have her own security at times.
Devos has stated publically to a group of Homeschool activists with Homeschool Legal Defense League (HSLD), that she would not use her authority to force states or local school districts to adopt federal top-down approaches to education.
That is a reference to Common Core.
Devos is an opponent to Common Core Standards, which is favored by the past Department of Education employees, the powerful National Education Association, Democrat politicians and backed by big money from Bill and Melinda Gates.
According to Scholastic Magazine, proponents of Common Core standards said the curriculums under Common Core will help give teachers what they need to help students reach grade-level proficiency.
Opponents of Common Core, HSLD, say that Common Core prevents personal growth for students and hampers individuality and innovation.
According to Rethinking Schools, “Common Core standards represent a tighter set of smarter standards focused on developing critical learning skills instead of mastering fragmented bits of knowledge.”
The divide between groups seems to be who sets the standards for what is critical learning skills. DC or parents.
Common Core is widely viewed as causing American public school children to slip down the achievement scale. According to Cato.org, this shows the need for School Choice.
Devos is vocal in encouraging school choice and freedom in Homeschooling. She is also making news by reducing federal spending on education.
On the day the Tax Reform Bill was passed, Wednesday, came the news that Devos reversed a practice by President Barack H. Obama’s administration of fully forgiving student debt for students.
Under Obama, $550 million in federal student loans canceled in full.
December 19 Devos had a Innovation in Education Summit in DC. There Devos told attendees that she is looking for a Paradigm shift and a focus on innovation.
“This past summer I was involved in a rethink school trip around the country”, Devos said. “Great work is being done. What I found, Government isn’t the best at finding creative solutions, or questioning the status quo”, she said.
Diversity is not being addressed currently, Devos told attendees. “We need to question everything”, she said.
“Success should not be measured by how many dollars were spent in schools, or how many students passed along. Sucess should be measured by how you are educating each student to meet their potential”, said Devos.
According to the public speeches and innovative summits, Devos is refocusing education from the focus on teachers needs to students needs.
She is refocusing assessment from children being evaluated to teachers being evaluated, and she said at her most recent summit, that DC cannot do much more than bring creative people together from around the country to solve the problems that face education in America.
Devos is returning authority and power over education to parents and States. She has faced protests which have gotten aggressive.
Rally on Bellevue Way is dispersing. pic.twitter.com/N5BVYq55WO
— Bellevue, WA Police (@BvuePD) October 14, 2017
However she has remained hopeful throughout it all that she will usher in changes that will help students, families and taxpayers. A common theme for the Trump administration is the courage to change the DC standards.
And she has outlasted at least one of her opponents in one year.
A common theme from today’s panelists: COURAGE. Courage to innovate and to reimagine how to achieve student success. #RethinkSchool
— US Dept of Education (@usedgov) December 19, 2017