DeVos’s appointment raises educational concerns
President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education.
The Wooster Blade Editorial Board has serious concerns regarding DeVos’s support of programs, such as school vouchers, that funnels funds from public schools into charter schools.
As students, The Wooster Blade Editorial Board call on DeVos to strengthen public schools, considering how many students rely on them as their sole source of education
Stephen Henderson wrote, in a Dec. 6 Detroit Free Press article, that DeVos has, in large part, lead the charge for unregulated charter schools in Michigan.
In the same article, Henderson goes on to write that in 2000, the DeVos family spent $5.6 million in an unsuccessful campaign to amend the Michigan Constitution to allow for school vouchers, this summer, they were spending $1.45 million to stop a bipartisan provision in the Michigan legislature that would have brought more oversight to Detroit’s charters. Since 2001, they have spent a total of $2 billion on their own political action committee, the Great Lakes Education Project, which has lobbied to the Michigan state legislature to expand charter schools.
This editorial takes no strong stance on charter schools in general, but The Wooster Blade Editorial Board is vehemently opposed to the practice of diverting and allocating more funds and resources into charter schools when the public school system, which serves the majority of American students, so desparately needs them.
In Michigan, charter schools perform about the same as public schools on tests, according to Henderson’s article, but to find the real harm of DeVos’s lobbying you have to look to Detroit.
In the city, where almost 80 percent of the state’s charters are located, many students’ only option is a charter school, which a Detroit Free Press investigation found to be just as abysmal in terms of educational quality as Detroit Public Schools.
In addition, charter schools lack the needed regulations that are necessary to ensure that funds are appropriatly allocated, budgeted and spent in charter schools.
Ohio students have seen the effect of the lack of regulation in charter schools.
Politico’s Kimberly Hefling wrote on March 14 of this year that even before the dust had settled on Ohio’s effort to reform troubled brick and mortar charters we were already embroiled in scandal, this time over online charter schools fudging most of their numbers.
If DeVos is confirmed as Sec. of Ed., The Wooster Blade Editorial Board exhorts lawmakers to make sure DeVos focuses on fixing the problems we have now, not creating new ones.