Roundtable’s four-times-yearly digital and print publication Philanthropy was lucky enough have its interview request with Betsy DeVos granted in 2013. Although Ms. DeVos wasn’t the Secretary of the United States Department of Education until early last year – in early February 2017 – her views have remained the same since her April 2013 interview with Philanthropy.
You probably haven’t read that interview yet, even though it’s five-plus years old – but that’s OK. Let’s talk about some of what Philanthropy’s interview with Betsy DeVos touched on.
Outside of school vouchers, Betsy DeVos is very much interested in granting students the ability to attend school wherever they want
Students of public schools are required to attend those – more or less – closest to them. Although they can attend schools, in some cases, of their choice by paying the out-of-area schools an often-substantial fee, most students’ families simply can’t afford to absorb such costs.
While students in densely populated areas can sometimes choose where they want to attend school, this isn’t always the case.
The worst thing about assigning young people to attend certain schools is that it does not promote competition among them, in turn not incentivizing them to offer the best possible opportunities to students.
Betsy DeVos feels that one of the most powerful strategies of reforming public education here in the United States is granting students the freedom to attend schools outside of their government-granted radius.
Remember the fees talked about earlier? These fees are to cover what those out-of-area students’ costs of attendance would tack on to what those schools’ local governments don’t provide them with. With such fees, out-of-area students can’t “freeload” off of the limited dollar amounts of public funding that public and charter schools receive. In order to cut down on fees that parents have to pay, public schools could receive per-student funding based on current attendance.
Homeschooling is also OK with Betsy DeVos
Not all people are good teachers. They might be impatient, likely to punish learners for not catching on quickly enough, or simply not academically astute. By extension, not all parents are good teachers, either.
However, parents who are both interested in homeschooling their children and skilled at doing so should be allowed to teach their kids from home. DeVos believes that many parents, as mentioned above, are fed up with being forced to send their children to nearby, in-area schools. Rather than continuing to adhere to those unfair rules, parents should be able to take their kids out of public school systems and teach young ones themselves.
How did Betsy DeVos become an advocate for alternative forms of schooling?
As you probably know, Betsy DeVos is definitely not very keen on public schools across the United States. She first became an advocate for school voucher programs after finding out how difficult it was for low-income parents to pay for their kids’ tuition at private schools when she sent her own kids to private school and discussed such issues with her peers.
Visit www.betsydevos.com to learn more.