For those who know of school choice programs, you know how easy it can be to get into a program if you are in a failing school district. Many parents and students are choosing educational choice options because they don’t have the best schools. With the lack of resources and many professional teachers leaving the school districts, it’s clear that there is an ongoing problem for public schools.
Betsy DeVos inherited these issues when she became the 11th US Education Secretary. The Trump administration has increased its push for school choice across all states, but there are many legislators who don’t want to increase educational choice options. They fear that this will lead to the collapse of the public school system entirely.
However, many in Congress are supportive of educational choice options, and they point to successful states like Florida and Louisiana. In Florida, there are a number of options for students who don’t want to take classes where they are zoned. In most cases, this is because the school lacks funding and is rated “failing” according to test scores. While DeVos wishes that resources weren’t based on standardized testing, the policy dates back over 30 years and can’t be eradicated that quickly.
Besides, test scores are the only way that America has at rating how a school is performing. However, once a school receives less funding because of poor test scores, it’s clear that it becomes a cycle. Rarely does a school ever raise its test scores back up to standards where it receives the same funding as a prominent school in a better school zone.
Educational choice has been helpful for parents who want students to attend courses with better resources and higher paid teachers. In Florida, students can apply for a scholarship to go to a charter school or private school of their choice. While students still need to apply, it’s clear that these programs are helping to keep students in school.
There are other issues facing students today as well, such as campus safety and gun violence. After the Parkland school shooting, Betsy DeVos was placed in charge of school safety reform. She responded with new policies and placed a guardian on every campus to help curb violence and keep guns off campus. While she didn’t necessarily agree with putting guns on campus, other legislators in different states wanted teachers to have the option. Many school districts have prohibited teachers from carrying guns.
DeVos has less than a year to help with education reform in more states. She continues to work with Congress on new proposals for state school choice, and she hopes that many states will consider new virtual school options to help those students who don’t want to go to a failing school.
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