Some Questions for Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos at CPAC 2017
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaking at CPAC in 2017.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

During her speech in Huntsville, AL earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos asked some difficult questions about the current state of K-12 education:

So I think it is high time to ask—and answer!—a few questions “the system” fears:

Why aren’t all teachers allowed the autonomy to guide their students?

Why aren’t all parents allowed to decide the education that’s right for their own children?

Why aren’t all students allowed to pursue learning in ways that work for them?

Why are we afraid?

Americans are no strangers to facing their fears. Many feared taking on the Crown and charting their own new destiny. But the Founding Fathers weren’t afraid to put blood and treasure on the line when they signed their names on the Declaration of Independence.

Many feared going to the moon. But President Kennedy inspired and unified a nation when he announced that we’d go to the moon within the decade. And just a few years later, we did.

The demand for action is hardly new. 1983’s landmark “A Nation at Risk” report sounded a clarion call to do better for America’s students. 35 years later, next to nothing has changed.

We’ve defied the laws of gravity, and sent men to the moon and back. But many still fear doing what needs to be done to bring education into the 21st century. Why? Because many fear the perceived power of union bosses. They fear November’s ballot boxes.

I have some questions for Secretary DeVos:

  • How can you address what teachers are allowed to do in the classrooms when you don’t support states doing what they want without federal interference?
  • How can you speak of parents having a choice when you don’t support the ability for parents to opt their children out of assessments? They can decide how their child is educated (which I support), but can’t decide whether or not they should take an assessment?
  • Why instead of pursuing education fads like personalized learning do you not advocate classical education that has been proven to work?
  • Why are you afraid of letting states and schools have control? Why haven’t you called for the repeal of the Every Student Succeeds Act and every federal education law that goes beyond protecting a student’s civil rights?
  • Speaking of sending people to the moon, don’t you realize that was done before we had a Department of Education and education was mostly decentralized?

Next to nothing has changed because education reformers go from recycled fad to recycled fad foisting top-down reforms that don’t work while, at the same time, ignoring what does.

Why are you afraid to ignore the floundering group think mentality that currently exists?

3 thoughts on “Some Questions for Betsy DeVos

    1. DeptED does what CONGRESS dictates. Why not complain to CONGRESS?
      States dictating ed is as limiting as Feds!!
      Standards say “Teachers know what works in the classroom & will decide how to teach”. Teachers have ALWAYS adapted to learners using “one size fits all” classrooms & textbooks. How are textbooks suddenly limiting teacher autonomy?

  1. You pose excellent questions. When will Secretary DeVos be brave enough to answer?

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