Betsy DeVos Gives Lip Service to State and Local Control in Denver

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was in Denver, CO last week giving a talk to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a center-right organization for state legislators, at their annual meeting.

Real Clear Education reports:

DeVos praised ALEC and its members for being the “laboratories of democracy” and declared that states and local officials are better suited to meet the needs of students and teachers than “someone perched in Washington, D.C.” Throughout her address, DeVos emphasized she would reduce the footprint of the U.S. Department of Education. “Education is best addressed at the state, local and family levels,” she said.

DeVos talked little about policies she might push from Washington but instead praised individual states for propelling conservative reforms, especially school choice. She recognized Kentucky for passing its first charter school law and lauded Arizona for its unprecedented expansion of education savings accounts. “The next reforms won’t originate from Washington, D.C.,” DeVos proclaimed. “They’ll come from you.”

The home-field crowd gobbled up her words with frequent applause. “I’m ecstatic,” Arizona State Sen. Paul Boyer, chair of the Arizona House Education Committee, said after the speech. “It’s so refreshing to hear our secretary of education saying, ‘We want to get out of the way and we want to go back to what the Founders intended.’”

DeVos has given lip service to state and local control as evidenced by her hard line on the Every Student Succeeds Act. Even the regulatory reform they are considering does not do much to take us in the right direction. They gave Alabama fits about their state assessment until they finally relented.

I do have to credit the Trump Administration, and DeVos cut some programs in their budget – provided those survive Congress where many of them, unfortunately, won’t. Reducing the budget is great, but ESSA still hanging over the heads of states they don’t have actual control.