Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
In a perfect world, the President-elect would dissolve the Department of Education, salt the earth, and erect a charter school in its place. But a close second is nominating a Secretary of Education who will take on the meddling DC bureaucrats and ossified teachers’ unions. Trump did just that today by naming school choice enthusiast Betsy DeVos to the post.
“Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.
Ms. DeVos, a Republican mega-donor and chairman of the American Federation for Children, vowed to help Mr. Trump remake the education system.
“I am honored to accept this responsibility to work with the president-elect on his vision to make American education great again,” she said. “The status quo in education is not acceptable. Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.”
The choice has taken some hits because Trump opposed Common Core on the campaign trail, but DeVos has been labeled a supporter of the unpopular program. These allegations are thin gruel.
Her organization, AFC, has donated money to one of the big kahunas in school choice, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is run by Jeb Bush and supports Common Core. But FEE serves a zillion other important research and policy functions in school choice; Common Core is just one component. Pretty much everyone involved in the choice movement works with FEE, whether they support the CC or not.
DeVos addressed the criticism on her website:
I am not a supporter [of Common Core] —period.
I do support high standards, strong accountability, and local control. When Governors such as John Engler, Mike Huckabee, and Mike Pence were driving the conversation on voluntary high standards driven by local voices, it all made sense.
Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position. Sometimes it’s not just students who need to do their homework.
However, along the way, it got turned into a federalized boondoggle.
Above all, I believe every child, no matter their zip code or their parents’ jobs, deserves access to a quality education.
The initial goal of Common Core was higher educational standards and teacher accountability, which are great. Its fatal flaw was imposing these standards from bureaucrats in DC. Even if the original CC standards were good, they would soon be larded with trendy teaching styles, progressive curricula, and PC pronouncements on bathrooms and extracurricular activities.
State and local governments should take the lead on education for now. But, more and more, parents should decide how best to educate their kids.