Philanthropist

Betsy DeVos: Prioritizing American Futures

Let’s say that when you were a kid, you saw a dog and you reached out to pet it. The dog is instantly happy and smothers you with kisses, so you learn that dogs are friendly. Okay, looking at that same scenario, but instead of the dog, it is a snake. So, when you reach out to touch the snake, it bites you. You run back to your mother and there is a mild panic associated with trying to figure out if it venomous or not. That fear teaches you that snakes are not friendly. In fact, as an adult, you may develop a general fear of snakes that prevents you from ever becoming friendly with one again. The lesson has ingrained itself in you, and probably become more relevant because it has a context that you can recall.

 

Learning is kinda like that, you file things in a way that is meaningful for you. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos does not believe that the staff employed by public school systems are capable of helping children file this meaningful information because they are teaching without context. Children are not receiving information in a way that is meaningful for them or builds on information that is they have already gleaned on their own. Instead, they are fed information necessary to pass tests. In many cases, teachers teach material directly from the test guide in order to ensure that their children test high. What if these children have simply memorized the information without understanding how it is applied?

 

Betsy DeVos believes that private schools don’t have that type of agenda, they are centered around educating children with the highest standard. Additionally, charter schools look at the education process in a different light entirely. They welcome alternative methods of education and push for a larger expanse of education through different types of mediums. Online schools utilize the new phenomenon of technology to help students get through the education process with these tools instead of requiring them to abstain from them. This entire process allows students to focus in their own way and develop a deeper understanding that they can recall instead of information that has almost no meaning to them.

 

Betsy DeVos excitedly explains to her recent interviewers at Philanthropy Roundtable that more parents have become interested in the options available within a network of school choice systems. They see that there are more students coming out of the systems and going on to successful careers or in general seem happier to attend their programs. They want what is best for their children and they understand that these systems are where they can get that. It helps that parents have become so open to the system, as 250,000 new children have entered these programs within the last few years. Florida, Indiana, and Michigan are just a few of the states that have created a new and exciting type of school choice system. Betsy DeVos may be secretary of education but that does not mean that she is inherently supportive of public schools.

 

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