Betsy DeVos: Schools Based on Performance and Not Proximity

How would you feel if a government organization told you that you could not take your child to your chosen pediatrician because of your ZIP Code? What if they randomly assigned hairdressers based on where you live? Would you move to get a better haircut, or would you stay and simply deal with? I’m sure that your annoyance at the prospect of having your haircuts or medical decisions dictated for you is high, but you may not be completely aware of the fact that your education is dictated to you in much the same way. In fact, if you went to public school you had this choice completely taken away from you. Your parents more than likely sent you to the school that served your district and you dealt with it the best you could. For a few people, they were able to afford private education, and this helped set them out on a better foot.


One of the people that have been thinking about this most recently, is Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Recently might not be the best term, considering that it has been a passion of hers for almost her entire career. Betsy DeVos is a mother, meaning that she understands what it means to feel a little powerless in the education decisions that are made for your children. She, too, has been subject to the tyrannical dictation of the education department as to where her children are able to attend school. Early on, Betsy DeVos chose to enroll her children in a private school. She was able to avoid placing her kids into a failing system, but there were other parents that struggled to pay for necessities, let alone a private school tuition.


She began working with school choice organizations very soon after that, even going so far as to get elected to the Michigan Board of Education. Once there she helped pioneer more opportunities for school choice throughout the state and now Michigan is one of the leading states for this issue. Betsy DeVos is hoping that her work in Michigan will set an example for other schools all around the country. Even administrators can take this as a challenge to do better in their own public schools. This might make it possible for them to secure additional funding and popular status among parents. It will make it possible for parents to bring their children to a school based on their performance instead of their proximity. Being able to choose where your kids go to school should be a basic human right, instead, it has been dictated without a second thought. The makers of such mandates do not think about the long-standing consequences of their actions, they are only interested in doing things the way they have always been done. Betsy DeVos has proven that she is not interested in the way things were. There is a significant work that needs to be done throughout much of the education system and when policymakers are in denial, with parents, only the children suffer.


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